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9/24/19: KPRC2 – The online danger of social media ‘orbiters’ and what parents need to know

There’s a scary trend of online interactions between teenagers and social media followers that has the attention of law enforcement.

Some online followers are allegedly offering $50, $75 and $100 in exchange for a selfie, a picture of an outfit or nude photos.

Jenny Gutierrez and Bianca Morales, both 19, are new to the YouTube scene. They’re trying to jump on the latest craze for easy money by becoming rich like social media influencers.

“Hopefully if it works out, you know, make a living out of it. It’d be really nice to be able to afford the things we want and stuff in that way,” Gutierrez said.

To reach influencer status, they have to increase their videos’ views by the millions. That means allowing friends and even total strangers to follow them online, tracking their every move.

“I would say that I know about maybe one-third of the people that follow me,” Gutierrez said.

Not all social media followers are innocently watching. There’s an alarming trend of men called “orbiters” who follow young women online, requesting pictures, offering them money and even requesting to meet in real life.

“It might seem harmless — it’s a picture of a skirt and a top or shorts and a shirt. It grows into something,” Rania Mankarious, CEO of Crime Stoppers Houston, said, adding that no matter the request for photos, there’s a hidden risk. “They can turn violent. They can turn mob-like. There can be an infatuation with the young girl that turns into hatred towards this girl.”

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Posted by Crime Stoppers of Houston on 24 Sep 2019