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
    Jack Sombra, 31 Jan 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"

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
Special Affiliate Offer

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

Close

Email This

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