Police told local news outlets that a 14-year-old foster child in Florida broadcast her own suicide live on Facebook on Monday morning. The incident occurred on the same day that three men were arrested in Sweden on suspicion of raping a woman and broadcasting it live on the social network.
In the early hours of the morning, Nakia Venant began a livestream, reportedly using Facebook Live, before making a noose out of a scarf and hanging herself from the bathroom door.
The suicide was confirmed in an incident report from the state’s Department of Children and Families.
One of Nakia’s friends, who saw the livestream, alerted authorities. The Miami Herald reported that an error in the address given led emergency services to the wrong house. By the time they got to Nakia’s address it was too late. They found her hanging from the door while her foster parents slept.
Nakia was rushed to Jackson North Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Reports that Facebook Live was the site used for the broadcast were unconfirmed but spokesperson Christine Chen told the Miami Herald that Facebook aims to interrupt live streams which go against community standards ‘as quickly as possible’ adding: “We also suggest people contact law enforcement or emergency services themselves if they become aware of something where the authorities can help”.
A few weeks ago, in the neighbouring state of Georgia, another minor, Katelyn Nicole Davis, used a different social network to broadcast her suicide live. This latest incident brings Facebook Live and similar sites’ policies into the spotlight, raising both legal and ethical questions.
On its website, Facebook says it will “remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety”.
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