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.

Filed Under: social networking, suicide
Companies: facebook

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 31 Jan 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.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.