Parents Told To Keep Kids Off TikTok After Discovery Of Disturbing Video On Social Media!
An alarming video of a man’s death by suicide has surfaced on various social media platforms today, including TikTok. Parents have been warned to keep their children off their devices as the footage is said to be hidden in innocent clips such as cat videos.
Cybersecurity expert and child safety advocate Susan McLean posted a warning on Facebook advising parents to monitor their children’s social media usage today as the clip can be found in various inconspicuous videos.
“Please ensure you do not allow your older teens on the app today if they have it,” Mrs Mclean wrote on Facebook. “It is apparently now on Instagram but they are at least removing accounts posting it. Check in with your kids today, they most likely will know about it.”
The graphic video, reportedly features Mississippi man Ronnie McNutt sitting at a desk before the disturbing incident occurs. His death was confirmed by his church on their own Facebook page, describing him as “very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric”.
“He served his church faithfully and was loved by many,” the Celebration Church Tupelo stated.
While the original video was streamed live on Facebook on August 31st it has since been recorded and shared on various social media sites such as Instagram and TikTok. All platforms are struggling to pull the video down after it was discovered the graphic footage is often hidden in innocent looking videos that children are likely to open.
“Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide,” a statement from TikTok 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.”
Schools have been quick to send out emails to families warning them of the disturbing footage. Even though the video has appeared on other social media platforms, TikTok’s For You algorithm that recommends videos to users, means more people are seeing it on TikTok than anywhere else.
Experts are warning parents to keep their children off social media until the video has successfully been removed from all platforms.
Lee Hunter, the General Manager of TikTok Australia and New Zealand released this statement regarding the incident:
“On Sunday night clips of a suicide that had originally been livestreamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok.
This content is both distressing and a clear violation of our Community Guidelines and we have acted quickly and aggressively to detect and remove videos, and take action against accounts responsible for re-posting the content, through a mix of machine learning models and human moderation teams. 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.
We have also updated related hashtags to surface a public service announcement, with resources for where people can seek help and access our Safety Centre.
We understand and share the concerns expressed by the Prime Minister, eSafety Commissioner and the wider community that materials like this are made and shared. We are working closely with local policymakers and relevant organisations to keep them informed. We understand the serious responsibility that we have, along with all platforms, to effectively address harmful content and we want to reiterate that the safety of our users is our utmost priority.
If anyone in our community is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or concerned about someone who is, we encourage them to seek support, and we provide access to hotlines and support resources directly from our app and in our Safety Centre.”
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, please speak to someone. You are not alone.