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Baby hanged by dad, shootings & suicide – Ronnie McNutt death just latest horror vid social media giants failed to stop

SOCIAL media companies have been BLASTED by campaigners for “failing yet again” to stop kids being scarred by gruesome clips after the latest horror video.

Harrowing footage of US man Ronnie McNutt’s suicide was shared widely on TikTok and other social media after it was live streamed on Facebook last week.

The horrific clip was uploaded to the video-sharing platforms, often under deceptive names to trick children into watching it.

Some users were reportedly able to continue sharing the clip more than a week after it was first streamed.

The incident is just the latest in which footage depicting violence was widely shared on social media in recent years.

And campaigners have slammed Facebook and others for STILL failing to stamp out horror content, despite having “every chance”.

They also called for social media companies to “face fines and criminal sanctions” to force them to “wake up and take action”.

In February, Jakrapanth Thomma, a 31-year-old soldier from the Royal Thai Army, used Facebook to post updates about an attack on the city of Nakhon Ratchasima in which 29 were killed and 58 were wounded.

In March of last year, 51 people were killed in a terror attack carried out by a single gunman on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

A full 17 minutes of the attack, including the minutes before it began, were streamed using Facebook Live.

The attack prompted the Christchurch Call summit in Paris, in which world leaders called on technology companies to intensify their efforts to combat violent extremism.

In 2017, 20-year-old Thai father Wuttisan Wongtalay used Facebook to broadcast live footage showing him hanging his 11-month-old baby and then himself.

The footage stayed on his page for almost 24 hours before being removed.

The incident came just days 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr was killed in a random shooting carried out by behavioural health worker Steve Stephens, 37, who also streamed the killing to Facebook.

Following the shooting, the site said the footage had only been reported more than 1 hour 45 minutes after it was posted, but admitted it “needed to do better”.

The company, which also owns Instagram, faced similar criticism after the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell in 2017.

Following her death, Molly’s family found distressing material about depression and suicide that had been viewed on her account.

Her father, Ian Russell, later said he believed that Instagram was partly responsible for his daughter’s death.

In 2018, Youtube prankster Monalisa Perez was jailed after accidentally shooting dead boyfriend Pedro Ruiz during a stunt they had hoped would go viral on the platform.

Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for YouTube said the company was “horrified to learn of the tragedy” and that its thoughts were with the family.

It also said that it removes any content reported by users that violates its guidelines.

Social media companies do have measures in place to help users flag harmful content, but campaign groups say that more could still be done.

Asked about the potential impact of graphic viral clips on young people, Andy Burrows, NSPCC Head of Child Safety Online Policy, told Sun Online that viewing such content could be “hugely damaging”.

He also acknowledged that tech giants have been “stuck playing an awful game of cat and mouse for years as they try to take down these horrific clips while people maliciously continue to spread them”.

But he added: “Since the Christchurch terror attacks, and even before then, they have had every chance to develop technology to stamp out live and recorded content before it’s shared further.

“But yet again we’re seeing another example that proves they have failed to do this which is why we know they won’t wake up and take action unless they face fines and criminal sanctions.

“That’s why we’re calling on the Prime Minister to stand up to Silicon Valley and create a regulator with teeth to ensure tech firms protect children online and are punished if they fail.”

Asked what more social media companies could do to stop distressing content being spread online, a spokesperson for the Samaritans told Sun Online: “Whilst we have seen positive progress in how technology companies detect and respond to harmful content posted on their platforms, there is still much more that needs to be done to protect vulnerable people.

“It will take all of us working together including government, industry, charities, and also users who generate and post content online, to make it a safe place.

“We need improved technology to enable [harmful] content to be identified and removed faster and comprehensively, but we also need users to stop sharing and engaging with it.”

In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Facebook said: “Our hearts go out to the victims, families and communities affected by these tragedies.

“We care deeply about the safety of our community and we invest billions of dollars each year to prevent harmful content from appearing on our platforms.

“We know there’s more to do and will continue to work with mental health experts like Samaritans, local community groups and law enforcement to get people help when it’s needed.”

A spokesperson for TikTok said: “On Sunday night, clips of a suicide that had originally been livestreamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok.

“Our systems, together with our moderation teams, have been detecting and blocking these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide.

“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.

“If anyone in our community is struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone who is, we encourage them to seek support, and we provide access to hotlines directly from our app and in our Safety Center.”

The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 via freephone 116 123. For more information, visit samaritans.org.

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