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To: Mark Zuckerburg - CEO of Facebook

Ban Suicide Videos on Facebook

The petition got nearly 1000 signatures in a short time, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s now clear that along with all the other people, around the world, your voice was heard!

As of the 1st of March Facebook has “add[ed] suicide-prevention tools directly into Facebook Live that will give users watching a live video the option to reach out to the person directly as well as report the video to Facebook. In addition, Facebook will provide resources to the person reporting the live video including the ability to contact a help line immediately.”

Ban Suicide Videos on Facebook

We, Kyle MacDonald - Psychotherapist and Mike King - Suicide Prevention Ambassador, ask Facebook to urgently review its Community Standards and their implementation, to no longer allow the posting of videos or links to videos, of people completing suicide.

Recent events have shown that Facebook are unwilling to block such videos or links and we are concerned that the viewing of such videos, apart from being horrifying and disturbing, can increase the likelihood of others taking their own lives.

Why is this important?

Research [1,2,3] has shown that people who are emotionally distressed and vulnerable can be influenced by the reporting of details of suicide, and as such, there can be “copycat” attempts and deaths following high-profile suicide events. This has been dubbed the “Werther Effect” [4]

Facebooks own Community Standards state:

“We don't allow the promotion of self-injury or suicide. We work with organizations around the world to provide assistance for people in distress. We prohibit content that promotes or encourages suicide or any other type of self-injury, including self-mutilation and eating disorders … We also remove any content that identifies victims or survivors of self-injury or suicide and targets them for attack, either seriously or humorously.” [5]

Yet despite this, Facebook have recently refused to block or delete posts that link to videos of people taking their own lives. [6,7]

We believe this is not only in contravention of their own Community Standards and policies but also a wholly irresponsible act.

Facebook has a community responsibility to ensure the safety of its users and in allowing the publishing, and circulation of such triggering and disturbing “snuff videos” it is failing in this basic human responsibility.

In short, there is no good, ethical, empirical or reasonable argument to allow the posting of such content, especially when it may promote suicide or further loss of life

References:
1. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00031539.htm
2. https://publichealthwatch.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/are-copycat-suicides-real-a-new-study-says-yes-and-media-coverage-makes-it-worse/
3. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(14)70225-1/fulltext
4. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/01/teen-copycat-suicides-are-a-real-phenomenon.html
5. https://web.facebook.com/communitystandards?_rdr#self-injury
6. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/01/video-of-suicide-doesn-t-violate-community-standards-facebook.html
7. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11777767&ref=NZH_fb


Reasons for signing

  • Horrified that this needs saying
  • This needs too change
  • It is too easy for young ones to see these videos and think it is a resolution to their issues should be totally banned !!

Updates

2018-04-02 11:15:34 +1200

Petition is successful with 944 signatures

2017-03-20 15:18:39 +1300

Petition is successful with 934 signatures

2017-01-13 09:32:29 +1300

500 signatures reached

2017-01-13 08:44:28 +1300

Even the Police in the USA are having problems with getting Facebook to take these links down...
http://mashable.com/2017/01/12/facebook-live-girl-suicide/#vbkgoy_7eSqC

2017-01-11 19:58:05 +1300

100 signatures reached

2017-01-11 19:05:10 +1300

50 signatures reached

2017-01-11 18:35:35 +1300

25 signatures reached

2017-01-11 17:21:22 +1300

10 signatures reached