With the rise of video sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok, it's no surprise that there are thousands of different genres of videos increasing in popularity on social media recently. However, there is one which has a lot of controversy surrounding it: True Crime.

True Crime videos consist of a content creator, typically disconnected from the crime itself, reporting on and explaining the story of often very brutal offences. These could consist of missing persons cases, murders, vehicle crashes, etc. The creator will also often tell the story of the victim entirely themself, without contacting the victim or their family. This raises a lot of questions from viewers who see the ethics of this style of content creation questionable and disrespectful.

A YouGov study in 2022 found that 84% of respondents had a neutral, unsure or negative opinion of how the true crime genre affects society, with 22% having a definitive negative stance. But then why does society consume it so much?

On the one hand, reporting on and spreading awareness of crimes can be a brilliant thing. It can teach people the truth about certain situations and debunk misinformation and misconceptions, help others have the confidence to come forward about experiences they have had, and allow comments to be made on the justice system.
On the other hand, many people hold the view that making profits off of other’s suffering is unethical and it's very easy for stories to be misinterpreted if not told from the victims themselves. True crime media stories can also often glamorise and misrepresent the perpetrators of these crimes and give them a lot more attention than they deserve.

True Crime can be done right. If people are careful with how they present and explain the stories of others, many positives can come out of this kind of content. However, the risk of damage to victims and glorification of criminals cannot be overlooked, and the boundary of helpful to unethical is very easy to cross.