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Areline Martinez
via Instagram (@are.ma13)

A woman was shot and killed while staging a fake kidnapping on TikTok

21-year-old Areline Martinez was shot in the head by one of her friends in what has been referred to as an accident

Whether it’s posing with sharks or wild cats, standing in the way of moving vehicles, or balancing on cliff edges, we’ll do anything for those likes. Between the years 2011 and 2018, more than 250 people died while attempting to take selfies, but the growing popularity of TikTok only points to more social media-induced deaths.

Earlier this month, a woman in Mexico was shot and killed while attempting to stage a kidnapping for a TikTok video.

First reported in Mexico News Daily, Areline Martinez, 21, was shot in the head by one of her friends in what has been referred to as an accident.

Many of the friends who were involved in the fake kidnapping fled the scene after the killing, though a “behind the scenes” video posted to TikTok before Martinez was killed was used by authorities to identify the individuals.

Previous videos posted to Martinez’s TikTok feature scenes in which she’s blindfolded and her hands and feet are bound, while men surround her and point guns at her head. TikTok has since removed these videos.

“If anyone has a criminal responsibility, he will have to answer,” said César Augusto Peniche Espejel, the Chihuahua state attorney general. “There are several facts to investigate: the unfortunate death of the young woman and the origin of that weapon and how it came to her hands.”

Last month, a video began circulating on TikTok of a man committing suicide. Despite mass outcry, the video remained in circulation for a number of days, with TikTok being criticised for its poor moderation efforts.

In February, the video sharing platform took three hours to tell police of a suicide that was livestreamed on the app. The video of the victim’s body remained live for over an hour and a half before it was taken down. TikTok reportedly took steps to prevent the post from going viral before notifing the authorities.

In July, the app’s moderation guidelines were questioned once again, after its algorithm promoted a collection of anti-semitic memes, soundtracked by the lyrics, “We’re going on a trip to a place called Auschwitz, it’s shower time”. Nearly 100 users featured the song in their videos, which remained on the app for three days (eight hours after the platform was alerted to their presence by the BBC).