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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hofstra chapter.

Have you ever seen a video or hot take online that makes you so, so, SO angry that you just have to leave a comment to get your anger out? Unfortunately, if you relate to this, you’ve fallen for rage bait.

On Urban Dictionary, the term rage bait is defined as “a post on social media by a news organization designed expressly to outrage as many people as possible in order to generate interaction.”

One of the most well-known examples of rage bait in recent years was the ice cream licking trend from 2019. In case you have never heard of this or need a refresher, here’s a short video covering this issue by Insider Edition:

In this case, many of the people posting videos of their participation in the ice cream licking challenge were arrested for food tampering, which is a class E felony in the United States.

Just last month, a YouTuber, DAYSIDUKESTV, was arrested for smashing a TV in Walmart. The “prank” was that it was her own TV that she hit with a bat, but her disturbance still led to her arrest. Not everyone is convinced the YouTuber was actually reprimanded, though.

Since uploading her video, she has posted another 11 videos to her channel, AKA there’s a good chance the whole incident was fake.

So, what’s the point?

Attention, attention, attention. DAYSIDUKESTV has just under 100k subscribers and tends to get 6k to 30k views on her prank content. As of October 4, 2023, her Walmart video is sitting at 99k views. The video is the fourth most-viewed video on the channel AND is her best-performing prank video by about 40k views.

We all know how dumb, dangerous and rude these “challenges” are. So why do people do things like this? And why do people watch?

Another YouTuber, Kuncan Dastner, does an awesome job explaining the “whys” of rage bait (the full video can be watched here). Platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram base their algorithms on user engagement. When someone stumbles upon a rage bait post, they’re likely to dislike it, leave an upset comment or even share the video with others to express their anger towards it. While these interactions are negative, platforms see that users are clicking on and interacting with a post, which leads to it being shown to more people and eventually going viral.

Moral of the story: next time you see someone being annoying on your timeline, just scroll right past. Yes, their behavior sucks and is disturbing the people around them. It’s easy to want to get in their comments and get angry! But the best thing you can do in hopes of getting people to stop creating and sharing awful content like this is to ignore them. No attention = no clout.

Instead of using your time online to feed into annoying people’s antics, find a post or user to uplift! Kuncan Dastner, for example, puts so much work into his videos and only has 162k subscribers! If you want to comment about a situation that upsets you, use his comment section to vent so his videos are promoted more!

Here are some other YouTubers who cover online controversy, like Kuncan Dastner, in case you’re interested:

Brianna is a senior at Hofstra University with majors in public relations and mass media studies and a minor in women's studies. She is interested in relationships, mental health, pop culture and media phenomena.