In an extremely tragic incident, a 24-year-old from Agra has committed suicide, which he live streamed on Facebook. But what makes this worse is the 2,750 viewers, who went on to watch the video, not one of them called the cops to report the incident or inform the victim's family about it. The fact that the incident could have been averted is what makes this incident more painful.
This suicide, reported by the Times of India, identified the man as Munna Kumar. Reportedly, he was a BSc graduate and lived at Shanti Nagar in Agra.
On 11 July, Kumar streamed a 1:09-minute video on Facebook, where he was seen divulging about his suicide, before he actually hanged himself, during the video. As per reports, the video was watched by 2,750 viewers, however, none of them actually called up the cops to inform about the video. Since the video has been pulled down, it is not clear if these 2,750 people were concurrent viewers (that is watching it as it was unfolding live) or it's the total number of views the video has got.
Munna Kumar reportedly also left a six-page suicide note behind, where he revealed that failing Army entrance exams and ‘disappointing his parents', led him to commit suicide. He had apparently sat for the CDS exams five times.
“He was highly inspired by Bhagat Singh and wanted to join the Indian Army. Hours before committing suicide, he was normal and we had dinner together. No one in the family had any idea that he was going to commit suicide,” Munna Kumar’s younger brother Vikas Kumar told TOI.
His video has now been pulled down from Facebook. When we looked up on the platform for his account, his profile picture has been changed to a disturbing image of him with the rope around his neck.
This is not the first time that a tragic video has shown a vulnerable user taking his or her own life.
In a similarly horrific case, which happened in April 2017, another 24-year-old Mumbai student had committed suicide by jumping from the 19-storey room of a hotel, while live streaming the entire event. Identified as Arjun Bharadwaj, he left a suicide note, which indicated that he was mentally disturbed.
Outside India, there was another awful case of a Thai father who hung his 11-month-old daughter during a Facebook Live video.
What should I do if I watch a video like this on Facebook?
It is dreadful that the number of such incidents is on the rise, and users on these platforms, either don’t want to react to videos like these, or they don’t know how to.
Here’s what you can and should do if you feel a live streaming video could potentially be fatal for the person in it.
First of all, if it is a person you know, respond to the live video and try and talk the person out of it. If that's not working, try to call them and distract them. Get in touch with their family and friends, if possible, or people who you know can intervene in some way.
If you don't know the person, report the video to Facebook. Reporting videos is similar to how you report any post on the platform. Click the scroll down menu in the top right hand corner of the video and then click "Report Post" or "Report Photo" and follow the instructions. Here's a whole section on how you can report something to Facebook.
Ring your local emergency helpline number (112 in India), or your local cyber cell and inform them about the video. Here's a list of cyber cells in India.
If you happen to, unfortunately, come across such videos on Facebook, try and help out in any way possible. You never know, you may end up saving a life.