French authorities have launched an investigation after a 19-year-old woman broadcasted her own suicide on Periscope.
The woman, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly texted “one of her close relations” disclosing she was about to kill herself. Moments later, she livestreamed herself discussing her depression and her plan, before throwing herself in front of a train known as the R.E.R. about 25 miles south of Paris, according to the New York Times.
The Times describes the broadcast, which is no longer available on the livestreaming app, but has been recorded and posted to YouTube (with the suicide portion blacked out):
In those excerpts, a woman, appearing drawn and sober as she sits in a furnished room, says, “The video I am doing right now is not made to create the buzz but rather to make people react, to open the minds, and that’s it.” The woman identified herself as an employee at a retirement home and as a resident of Arpajon, a town not far from Égly. French officials did not immediately confirm that the woman in the video, who is seen sitting on a couch but not at the train station, was the woman who committed suicide.
People watching the video chimed in with remarks — including “We’re waiting,” “Always a pleasure to see you,” “Give us a hint” and “I think it’s fun” — that generally did not appear to take the woman’s distress seriously.
At one point in the excerpts, the screen goes dark and there is no noise. About five minutes later, the voice of someone who is evidently an emergency worker can be heard, saying, “I am under the train with the victim; I need to move the victim.” The train is visible in the seconds before the video cuts out.
Several weeks ago, an Ohio teenager was charged with several crimes after streaming the rape of her friend on the same app. In response to that incident, Periscope noted that it could not comment on individual accounts, but that its user policies ban “explicit graphic content.”
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