Facebook? Suicide? That's All I Need... Don't Bother Me With Facts...

from the bury-the-facts dept

Last week there was a lot of ridiculous buzz trying to connect Facebook to a series of suicides in the UK. It's the sort of thing that newspapers love to run with. Facebook is popular, and parents are already worried about it, so link it to suicide and *bam* immediate interest in the story. Of course, an equally accurate story could be "Paper Industry Linked To Suicide After Many Victims All Leave Notes!" Yet, that doesn't stop some people from trying. Con von Hoffman writes in to point out that the UK story has migrated down under, with an Australian newspaper warning parents about Facebook suicides in the UK. The only problem, there doesn't seem to be any support to the actual story -- as even the Australian article notes... though, buried down in the fourth paragraph: "a police spokesman in Bridgend said there was no evidence to date of a suicide pact and that the theory did not come from police." Despite that, the article still says that "experts remain concerned there may be a connection between the suicides and social networking sites." Meanwhile, the article also quotes someone saying: "The more stories that appear about young people having killed themselves in your area, the more it might appear to you to be a reasonable response to a particular kind of crisis." So, perhaps the Australian paper is trying to turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 9:47am

    Holy f***n crap

    "power of glamorising death"
    "teenagers were killing themselves because memorial sites were seen as prestigious."
    "sites set up by friends after a teenager's death could add to the appeal of suicide."
    "The web pages are usually placed in really beautiful positions and it gives them some sort of notoriety,"
    "The notion of grief and sadness spread through social networks after their death could give young people a sense of power"

    First, why would anyone think of this? If your dead how can you enjoy being famous?

    Second, if your at that point where a memorial site pushes you to suicide I'm going to guess that you're pretty far gone by then anyways. It would only be a matter of time before it happens with or without the sites.

    I don't think this could be any more obvious fear mongering.

    On a second read of the article it almost sounds like this O'Brien person is trying to push for more people to commit suicide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Bored Kid, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 9:54am

    Dont b a hater

    and dude who typed the comment above this...come on man that is low

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:03am

    Re: Dont b a hater

    Why? Because I'm pointing out that the people who would be influenced by facebook need real help not just baned from social networking sites? Because I'm trying to point out mass media scarring people into reading their articles?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    youryoureinstructor, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Re: Holy f***n crap


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    SpellingInstructor, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Holy f***n crap


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    POGY, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:30am

    HAHAHA its sooooo true.....

    'and dude....' Hey think about it. the media gets a hold of all these "soccer moms" fears and twists them into wrapping there precious babies (who are teenagers perfectly capable of taking care of themselves) up in this protective blanket where they don't let the kids go have any fun. Kids don't need this super over protective crap there getting these days. its all about how can we make the corner of the desk rounder so that the kid cant possibly smash his head into it and kill himself. personally if your kids stupid enough to commit suicide, then A. you haven't been a good enough parent, or B. the kid deserves to die.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:32am

    "A. you haven't been a good enough parent, or B. the kid deserves to die."

    Both fallacious, but I haven't the energy to argue on TechDirt today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Do it!!, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:51am


    Jump off that bridge!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Do it!!, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:53am


    I recommend suicide, it is the only way to go.
    Run in front of that bus.
    Drink that solvent.
    Stand in the way of the Amerikkkan industrial military complex.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Liquid, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 11:01am

    Thining the Herd

    Yup. Go a head can't take the pressure of life anymore go off your self. Kinda get tired of the "I can't take my life anymore", "My life is soooo horrible", or my personal favorite "No one would notice anyways"... I just say keep letting them off them selves thin the heard that is the human race a little bit. It's bad enough we have things like War, AIDS, etc... floating all over this cesspool we call earth... There are people in nations far behind the UK in terms of comfortable living, and you don't see them committing suicide. Hell theres a damn ethnic cleansing going on again in Africa, and your killing your self because the girl that sits two seats a head of you in class that you have a major crush on doesn't even notice you. WOW thats a pretty pathetic person. Don't feel sorry for them at all.

    My life hasn't been a sunshine a rainbows, but you don't see my putting the shotgun to my mouth with my big right toe on the trigger. Weak people that don't buck up and say how they feel just don't deserve any pity from anyone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 11:08am

    Suicide exists for the simple reason of getting rid of people who don't want to be around anyway.

    It's like the "Delete Account" feature of life.

    I love anything that facilitates this!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Overcast, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 11:12am

    "experts remain concerned there may be a connection between the suicides and social networking sites."

    I'm sure other experts will say there's no connection

    Some experts will says there's a small connection

    Some experts will smoke pot and won't care

    Other experts will kill the kids themselves

    And still some other experts will say that other experts who are quoting some other experts that are experts on what experts say will say that experts don't know what the other experts are talking about.

    The word 'expert' has a very loose definition anymore - 69 out of 50 experts agree on that too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 11:29am

    I am insensitive

    If some kid kills themself because of a social networking site... well... natural selection works I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    stop telling me and just die already, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 11:43am

    Re: Thining the Herd

    a'men to that brothers and sisters.

    how about we go back to when we were kids, or even when our parents were kids..........before ADD, and ADHD, and Ridlin, and "video games are screwing up my kids".

    I didn't have a car seat, or even wear a seatbelt. I had lead based paint all over my house, my Tonka trucks were made of Steel with sharp edges not plastic, and if the girl you liked didn't like you, well, you just found another girl to like.

    Why is society trying so hard to make our kids helpless.

    Shut up, grow a pair, and raise your kids to be smarter than all this crap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Jack Sombra, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 12:13pm

    Remember when this broke in the UK

    Remember when this first appeared on the news in the UK, the intro was something like "Teen suicides possibly linked to Facebook"

    My first thoguht was "oh here we go again, lets see what tenuious links to facebook they have" so sat down though the entire segment

    And guess what? Facebook and the web were never mentioned again

    Whole thing was basiclly teen suicides were up big time and there were no links between the kids, either real world or online (was not even known if the all the kids were online) and the cops were baffled

    if they asked anyone who studies social phoneomena they would have seen this is common, when one kids kills them self and the press splash it all over their pages you soon have a spat of them doing it. Same with school shooting

    More appropriate title in my opinion would be

    "Teen suicides possibly linked to news media"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 12:52pm

    ... *sigh I just wasted 3 minutes reading this article?
    Oh yeah, and Marylin Manson shot all those kids at Columbine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 12:57pm


    Maybe everybody who uses myspace should commit suicide just in spite, to prove a point that facebook isn't a factor in it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Alimas, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 1:30pm


    There should be a sort of suicide business setup.
    "Does life suck-ass? Does everybody massively hate you but simultaneously wouldn't notice if you were gone? Wouldn't that teach them? Come on down to Bob's Blow it All Away!"
    The entrance door would have an "EXIT" sign on it! lol
    Save some food for the millions around the globe struggling to stick around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    boomhauer (profile), Jan 31st, 2008 @ 1:34pm


    i wonder how much benefit online communties have had in preventing suicides... being able to talk things through with your peers online...Im guessing has helped far more than hurt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Chuck, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 2:34pm

    Facebook is a social networking site. People with like interests can meet and communicate online. In this case, it may have done just that. But don't blame Facebook for causing the suicides.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anarchy_Creator, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    Futurama did it(best)...

    Suicide booths!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anarchy_Creator, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 3:15pm

    But seriously

    My Views On Suicide, And, Or Euthanasia Are As Follows.
    If You Seriously Have Had It With Life, And Are Of At Least 22 Years Of Age (That Way You've At Least Had Enough Time To Experience All That Life, Cigarettes, Pr0n, And Alcohol Has To Offer) You Should Be Allowed To Fill Out A Form Stating Why You Want To Commit Suicide.
    Of Course The Usual Reasons Will Be Automatically Denied *eg* (I Was Dumped, Lost My Job, My Significant Other Died, No Friends, Emo, Goth, Etc.).
    Then You Submit This Form To A New Branch Of The Government That I Would Invent Called Ministry Of Death (Mod For Short) For Review.
    If Your Reason Is Convincing Enough, Or You Really Aren't Helping Advance Humanity In Anyway You Will Be Approved.
    You Will Then Be Contacted With A Date, And Time To Be Present At The Processing Facility.
    You Will Then Be Given A Choice Of How You Would Like To Die.
    There Will Be Just About Every Form Of Death Known To Man (And If Yours Isn't Listed By All Means Let Us Know So We Can Add It For Future Applicants)
    If The Method Of Suicide You Choose Didn't Damage Any, Or All Of Your Vital Organs They Will Then Be Harvested For People Who Actually Want To Live Otherwise They Will Be Disposed Of Along With Your Corpse.
    This Whole Process Mind You Will Take At Least 6 Months To 1 Year To Run Complete, And Just In Case You Wimp Out When You Get Your Date, And Time You Will Be Given An Ankle, Or Wrist Bracelet That Is Not Removable And You Can Simply Press The Correct Sequence Of Numbers You Set When It Was Placed On Your Persons To Cancel Your Request For Suicide.
    Before You Think It's Just That Easy No It's Not.
    You Will Have To Pay For Wasting The Mod's Time (However Much It Costs To Process An Applicants Request), Your Name/current Photo/and Brief Contact Info (Nothing Too Personal Like Address) Will Be Broadcast To The World Forever Branding You As The Pussy Who Wanted To Commit Suicide, But Couldn't Go Through With It (To Detour Emo/goth Fags Who Would Go Through The Whole Process Just To Procure One Of Those "cool Death Bracelets" Only To Wuss Out At The Moment Of Death).
    I Feel Like I'm Missing Something. Anyhow This Looks Good For Now I'll Add More Later If I Can Remember Anything Else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Alimas, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:18am

    Re: But seriously

    That easy? Thats a hell of a process to go through to die.
    And whats with the rejecting of applicants?
    You kill yourself for a really stupid reason (like your girlfriend dumping you) then the species is better off.
    And why an agency? Kill yourself at home on the spot.
    Our police departments are typically skilled enough to tell when someone killed themselves and can put it on record, theres no need for an agency or a processing facility.
    I don't want my tax money going into giving some suicidal moron death conveniences. He can kill his own bloody self on his own time and wallet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Simon, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 10:40pm


    Not Facebook, Bebo. FWIW.

    Dumb article. Dumber comments in this thread.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Jeremy, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 12:34pm


    No one should worry about facebook. It is not a bad website. I think everyone should have it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Tonka Trucks, Nov 8th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Some of the comments

    Some of the comments on here are really bad-taste. Suicide is that something to laugh about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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