Police Stop Facebook Live Suicide Attempt in Macon, Georgia

Facebook logo reflected in a young girl’s eye (Getty)

The last month has been a month of horrors associated with Facebook Live: first, Cleveland resident Steve Stephens murdered a man named Robert Godwin, Sr. in a video posted to Facebook (not streamed over Facebook Live, though initial police reports erroneously claimed it was). Less than two weeks later, a Thai man named Wuttisan Wongtalay murdered his infant daughter in a video which did stream live on Facebook—and stayed up for almost 24 hours before Facebook took it down.

But out of Macon, Georgia this week came another potential Facebook Live horror story which fortunately had a happy ending. Macon.com reports that at around 7:30 p.m. on May 2, a teenage girl in the city made a suicide attempt streamed over Facebook Live. But horrified viewers of the video called 911 (and eventually, Facebook also notified Macon authorities). The girl still had a pulse when police and paramedics arrived at her house half an hour later.

Most Facebook Live suicide attempts have less-happy endings. Last December 30 a 12-year-old girl in Cedartown, Georgia (about 70 miles from Atlanta) livestreamed her suicide on Facebook after saying she’d been sexually abused by a member of her family. The following month, an aspiring actor named Frederick Jay Bowdy broadcast his suicide over Facebook, then a week later, 14-year-old Naika Venant did the same thing in Florida.

Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would hire 3,000 additional people over the next 12 months to screen videos and remove those showing murder, suicide or other objectionable content.

“This is important,” Zuckerberg said. “Just last week, we got a report that someone on Live was considering suicide. We immediately reached out to law enforcement, and they were able to prevent him from hurting himself. In other cases, we weren’t so fortunate.”

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