India: Man Livestreams His Own Suicide on Facebook

A 37-year-old man in southern India livestreamed his suicide on Facebook, the Times of India (TOI) reported Friday.

K. Ramkumar, from the city of Tirupur in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was “working as a driver in a private firm” prior to his death. “Ramkumar, who was an alcoholic, returned home in an inebriated condition” Wednesday afternoon, the newspaper reported.

“He locked the door [of his house] from inside and turned the live option of his Facebook account on before hanging himself from a ceiling fan.”

According to the report, an unspecified number of people watched Ramkumar’s suicide live on Facebook and some of them “contacted the Tirupur city police” to alert authorities of the incident.

Ramkumar’s wife “was also informed by her family members” of her husband’s livestream. She contacted the building’s landlord who, together with family members, “rushed to the house and broke open the door. They found Ramkumar hanging from the ceiling fan,” TOI relayed. “They rushed him to Tirupur Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him dead.”

According to the newspaper, the man left behind a suicide note in which he “wrote that no one was responsible for his death and that he was not interested to live in the world.” Ramkumar’s wife “told the police that her husband had attempted to commit suicide seven years ago and had been saved by her and family members,” TOI reported.

On July 11, a man in northern England similarly livestreamed his suicide by hanging on Facebook. The 50-year-old man announced his planned suicide on the social media platform hours prior. Dozens of people reportedly alerted Facebook of his suicidal post but authorities did not reach the man in time to stop him from taking his own life. Facebook later attracted criticism for its perceived failure to stop the suicide.

Following the incident, Facebook issued a statement claiming it sent “support documents” to the man after his first suicidal post. “We can confirm that the livestream was deleted very soon after being posted and this further post has also now been removed at the family’s request,” the statement read.

“We take the responsibility of keeping people safe on our platforms seriously, and we will continue to work closely with [suicide prevention] experts like The Samaritans to ensure our policies continue to support those in need,” a Facebook spokesman added.

Facebook says in its Community Standards the company has been “advised by experts” not to remove live videos of “self-injury while there is an opportunity for loved ones and authorities to provide help or resources.”

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