TikTok fails to remove suicide video
Controversial Chinese social network TikTok is struggling to remove a video of a man taking his own life from its platform, days after the graphic clip was first streamed live on Facebook.
The deeply disturbing video is still being shared on the network seven hours after it first appeared, and parenting experts are recommending they keep their teens off the platform today to avoid harm while the network removes it.
The disturbing video, showing 33-year-old US man with a gun, was allegedly first streamed live on Facebook on August 31.
But clips of the man's suicide are now being shared in some TikTok videos that are being actively suggested and shown to users without warning, causing distress among users.
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Cyber safety expert Susan McLean said parents should take swift action to prevent their children from seeing the disturbing video today.
"There is a video on TikTok of a man live-streaming his suicide," she said. "Please ensure you do not allow your older teens on the app today, if they have it.
"Check in with your kids today. They most likely will know about it. It is also being hidden behind cat videos as well."
A TikTok spokeswoman confirmed that "clips of a suicide that had been livestreamed on Facebook" began circulating on its network yesterday, and the company was trying to remove it from the platform.
"Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide," she 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.
"If anyone in our community is struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone who is, we encourage them to seek support, and we provide access to hotlines directly from our app and in our Safety Centre."
But the man's name was still trending on TikTok in Australia this morning, along with clips of teens saying they had been traumatised by seeing the video after it was suggested for them without warning in TikTok's "For You Page".
Others said they reported the video but it was not immediately taken down.
For help with emotional difficulties, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au
Originally published as TikTok fails to remove suicide video