MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – A 49-year-old man from Robertsdale is dead after committing suicide Tuesday night and broadcasting it on Facebook Live.
According to a release from the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, the man was going through a break-up with his girlfriend. After not responding to calls, Baldwin County Sheriff’s deputies were sent to his home and while en route, they received reports that the man had committed suicide and filmed the event on Facebook Live.
When investigators arrived at the home, they discovered the man had shot himself in the head with a rifle. The video of the suicide was seized by deputies and taken down from Facebook.
Suicides broadcast live on Facebook have made headlines more than once in recent months. It is a disturbing new trend that researchers are only just beginning to study.
According to Psychology Professor Phillip Smith, there are several reasons why a person may choose to die in this manner.
“Perhaps, when someone is posting about their suicide that is their attempt to, in a sense, memorialize their death and to try to achieve, to obtain the compassion, the care and the concern that they don’t feel like they’re getting in life,” Dr. Smith said.
Facebook is taking measures of its own to prevent incidents like this from happening. Users watching a live video now have the option to reach out to the person streaming and also to report the video to Facebook. The social media network is also offering help to the person streaming the video– they will see a list of resources on their screen, such as “reach out to a friend” or “contact a helpline.”