An alarming video that was supposedly live-streamed on Facebook has made its way to other social media outlets. What people thought was a harmless clip actually holds a graphic footage of a man's apparent suicide. Since then, it made its way to popular video-sharing platform TikTok and has gone viral. As of last month, it has already surpassed one billion users globally. With as many as 18 million daily active users who are considered minors, the developers have taken action to stop the spread of the controversial content.
As detailed by moderators, the clip started to circulate on TikTok over the weekend, reports Forbes. A user even posted a warning that read: "Attention people who have Tik Tok [sic]." The message then continued: "Please try not to go on Tik Tok [sic] today or tomorrow! There is a very graphic and gory suicide video going around right now! If you watch a video and it starts with a man with long hair and a beard on the phone scroll the hell away from it as quick as you can!"
TikTok is already working to stop the video from spreading on its networks. "Our systems, together with our moderation teams, have been detecting and blocking these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide," read a statement issued by a company representative.
"We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who've reported content and warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the person and their family," it added.
Earlier this year, TikTok was criticised after a 19-year-old user purportedly live-streamed his apparent suicide. It purportedly took three hours for those who moderated contents to submit a report of the incident to the authorities. Meanwhile, other social media services such as Facebook has also been slammed for its poor control over live-streamed content such as the 2019 massacre at a mosque in New Zealand.
ByteDance – the parent company of TikTok – is currently in trouble in the United States after the Trump administration pointed out its alleged ties to the Chinese government. Therefore, its operations in the U.S. must be stopped until an American company acquires a controlling stake. So far, Microsoft and Walmart have expressed interest.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, the Samaritans provide a free support service for those who need to talk to someone in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Visit Samaritans.org or call 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Visit this website to find a support phone number in your country.