19-Year-Old Killed Himself Live On TikTok — Why Aren’t More People Talking About It?
On February 21, 2019, one TikTok user documented his suicide during a livestream for 280 viewers. His body laid lifeless on camera for over an hour and a half before TikTok did anything about it. This raises many questions about the company’s intentions and how they are dealing with the ongoing mental health crisis of people in the digital age. A Youtuber named D’Angelo Wallace laid out the fact in a video posted last year.
TikTok Failed To Alert Police Hours After User Commits Suicide On Livestream
A 19-year-old from Southern Brazil told his TikTok followers that he was going to be planning a special performance the next day. TikTok has a livestream feature that allowed him to broadcast his suicide live. The livestream continued going for an hour and a half. It was just live footage of his lifeless body which is absolutely devastating.
Finally, TikTok was made aware of this livestream that had been broadcast for over an hour. This occured after people began flagging the video. Instead of calling the police immediately, they called their PR team to ensure that the footage would not go viral. It is possible to screen record livestream videos on TikTok which some people may have done. But the real problem here is that the company’s Brazil branch cared more about crisis management than anything else.
A Former Employee Exposed The Company
The TikTok office in Brazil spent time between 5 p.m. and 7:56 p.m. to ensure that the video did not go viral and leak out into the press. A former employee of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company exposed the company for failing to manage the tragedy properly. The company did not even immediately tell the man’s family that he had killed himself on the app. Instead, their priorities were backward as they attempted to do damage control and took a 40-minute gap of time to speak to their PR teams in both Brazil and the US.
At around 5:13 p.m., the account of the deceased user had been banned. Three hours after the suicide, the authorities were finally alerted. This information was kept a secret from everyone except the man’s family, the authorities and those who viewed the livestream for a year. The only reason people now know about this is because of the former employee of ByteDance coming forward.
TikTok Prepared A Statement After Being Blasted By The Media
TikTok reportedly then prepared a statement addressing the incident but it was never released. It says that the company does not allow “content that promotes personal injury or suicide.” The statement continued on saying “we remain deeply saddened by this tragic incident and sympathize with the family. We encourage anyone who needs support or is concerned about a friend or family member to contact a suicide hotline.”
The company did provide a statement to Business Insider in September of 2020. “Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide,” the statement said. “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.”