Fight videos posted online for popularity

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Ryan Halls says he's seen the fascination with online fight videos explode over the last few months.

"Everybody wants to see, 'Yeah, I got in a fight and I won it,' and upload it," the 20-year-old said. "They want to make sure someone records it and puts it up."

In one YouTube video of teens fighting in Jacksonville Beach three months ago, those recording the cellphone video can be heard saying what they intend on doing with it.

When they say "world star," they are referring to a website called WorldStarHipHop, which features fight videos and encourages violence.

Other fights recorded in Jacksonville Beach can also be found on YouTube in a culture of violence that may have played a part in the Memorial Day melee.

Online experts say the people behind the camera and even the ones fighting are sometimes seeking out popularity.

"They want to see how many people watch it, how many clicks and views, and that makes them feel popular," said Stacey Steiner, of Beson 4 Media Group. "It's kind of an extension of your personal popularity to see realtime how many people have watched your video."

Parents say teenagers uploading fight videos has one positive: The images captured on the phone are often used as evidence by police.

"If it's uploaded where they can recognize the people in that fight, that's what makes me happy -- when they can pinpoint whose in that fight committing a crime and then lock those people up," parent Melissa Harris said.

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