In some rather disturbing social media news, the US Justice Department confirmed earlier this week that an Instagram influencer has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. This after the individual came up with a violent plan to get ownership of a domain name, with one of the steps being to hold the owner at gunpoint.

Whether or not there was genuine intention behind the plan is unclear, but the Justice Department believed it a serious enough threat to give Rossi Lorathio Adams II (the Instagram influencer in question) 14 years of jail time.

According to a report from The Washington Post, Adams had a series of Instagram accounts along with accounts on other social media platforms while attending Iowa State University, many of which focused on creating and sharing sexually explicit or risky content.

As such it appears as if this latest plan from Adams is the result of a continued escalation of risky content that went unchecked.

As for the reason for his arrest and conviction, Adams wanted the domain name, with the influencer regularly using the hashtag #DoItForState. Adams reached out to the domain name owner, Ethan Deyo, with the latter offering to sell the name for $20 000. Adams believed the amount too high, and so began his plan to forcibly coerce Deyo to give him ownership of the domain, all of which was broadcast on social media.

The plan reached a climax in 2017, where Adams hired his cousin to hold Deyo at gunpoint. The episode ended with both men suffering gunshots, with the pair surviving the incident. When this whole debacle happened in 2017, Adams was initially given a 20 year sentence, but as the sentencing has only happened now, the amount of jail time has reduced to 14 years.

Either way it serves as a cautionary tale that popularity on social media does not translate to power in the real world. With social media influencers often accused of some insane behaviour in the past, this is by far the most bizarre we’ve heard to date.

[Image – Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash]