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    Horror Stream: Alabama Man’s Suicide Highlights Facebook’s Big Live Problem

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    A 49-year-old Alabama man who shot himself live on Facebook on Tuesday joins the torrent of deaths and violence broadcast over the platform’s livestreaming feature.

    After a woman watching the stream alerted the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office that her friend might harm himself, police were dispatched to the home of James M. Jeffrey. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, Jeffrey was already dead.

    The suicide livestream was viewed more 1,000 times and shared by multiple users before Facebook pulled it down, the International Business Times reported.

    "This was a first for us," Anthony Lowery, assistant chief deputy with the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office told USA Today. "I hope this isn't a trend starting. It's one thing to commit suicide. It's another thing to victimize other people."

    This is not even the first suicide to be broadcast on the social network this month.

    On April 3, Arjun Bhardwaj, 24, committed suicide by jumping from the 19th floor of a hotel in Mumbai, India. Before taking his own life, he livestreamed himself giving a “suicide tutorial” to other Facebook users.

    "Step 1, write notes to people … step 2, get drunk, Step 3 … enjoy the view, Step 4 … have bacon pasta," Bhardwaj said. “See you all on the other side.”

    On Easter Sunday in Ohio, Steve Stephens livestreamed himself randomly shooting an elderly man on Facebook Live, after forcing his victim to say his ex-girlfriend’s name. The man continuously posted streams of his homicidal ramblings, before shooting himself when confronted by police in Pennsylvania.

    “Facebook does not disclose how many people have committed suicide on Facebook Live. In January, a 14-year-old girl hung herself in her Florida foster home and a 33-year-old aspiring actor shot himself in a car on a Los Angeles street, both on Facebook Live,” USA Today reported. “A young Turkish man who had broken up with his girlfriend told viewers before committing suicide on Facebook Live in October: ‘No one believed when I said will kill myself. So watch this.’"

    On Tuesday, a Bangkok man murdered his 11-month-old child on a Facebook livestream before taking his own life as well. The horrific video remained live on the social media platform for approximately 24 hours before being removed.

    The website announced last month that they will be incorporating suicide prevention tools into their live feature. They are also offering chat support from crisis organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

    Additionally, Facebook is working to create artificial intelligence that will be able to pick up warning signs of violence, suicide or self harm throughout the platform – including users’ live broadcasts.

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    Tags:
    Social Media, Livestream, Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, Facebook, James M. Jeffrey, Alabama
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