PARENTS have told how their children were left “traumatised” after being tricked into watching footage of a suicide on TikTok and Facebook.
Harrowing footage showing the death of US man Ronnie McNutt has been shared thousands of times in recent days, prompting criticism of social media giants for failing to stop its spread.
Sites including Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat have allowed the clip to be shared widely by users for more than a week.
The footage has also appeared on TikTok’s For You trending homepage, where it could potentially have been seen by hundreds of thousands of the platform’s young users.
Networks are still scrambling to remove the clip, but parents have already voiced anger after it was inadvertently viewed by their children.
Writing on Facebook, one said: “So horrible fly high Ronnie.
“I wish I can unsee the video but I cannot unfortunately I can’t and unfortunately it’s permanently in me and my daughter’s minds she is so traumatized from the video she accidentally clicked on a link on Tik Tok.”
A Twitter user said: “My 15 year old daughter was sent a video of Ronnie Mcnutt committing suicide on a Facebook livestream.
“I hate she watched it. My prayers go out to his family & friends. RIP RONNIE #SuicidePrevention.”
Another added: “My pre-teen son just showed me the Ronnie mcnutt video on YouTube.
“Pls start banning any related content.”
Speaking to the BBC, one woman, named as Brenda, described how her 14-year-old daughter ran downstairs in tears and with her hand over her mouth after seeing the clip.
“I have never seen her that distressed. It was horrific and took ages to get the words out of her,” Brenda said.
“She was scrolling through songs and funny videos when a bearded man in a white shirt appears behind a desk.
“My daughter was in a state of shock, still is in a state of shock and this could stay with her for months.”
The clip has reportedly been uploaded under false titles, including “Look at the pasta I cooked tonight”, prompting users to click on it without knowing what it showed.
Some parents said they would ban their children from using social media altogether until the issue was addressed, while other users described young relatives left too scared to use the platforms.
“I am deleting TikTok & stopping my children have access until this is rectified,” wrote @KatAndGirls69.
“If my children saw this they would need counselling, ive not even watched it! How do i stop kids from seeing this.”
User @0kayaubrey said: “My sister is scared to go on tiktok now cause the Ronnie Mcnutt suicide keeps coming up on her fyp….
“Why would people even repost that on a app filled with kids.”
McNutt, 33, was an army veteran living in Mississippi who had reportedly suffered from PTSD.
He died by suicide during a stream to Facebook Live on August 31.
Friend Josh Steen has said Facebook is “directly responsible” for the clip having been streamed online and spread around the internet.
“Facebook could’ve stopped this and didn’t,” he told Heavy.com.
“Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms could ban accounts, IPs, and stop the spread of this video.
“YouTube can flag you for using two seconds of a copyrighted song, but can’t seem to filter out my friend ending his life.
“It does not make sense.”
Other social media users have described the impact viewing the clip had on them.
“If you see this guy on your For You page, please scroll up immediately,” one said.
“It’s very gruesome and I highly suggest you stay away from TikTok for a while.”
Another said they were left “shaking” after watching the “very terrifying and gory” video.
A TikTok spokesperson said: “On Sunday night, clips of a suicide that had been live-streamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok.
“Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging 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 Centre.”
Officials from Facebook said: “We removed the original video from Facebook last month on the day it was streamed and have used automation technology to remove copies and uploads since that time.
“Our thoughts remain with Ronnie’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
McNutt was a member of Celebration Church Tupelo, which confirmed his death in a post on its Facebook page on September 1.
“In the midst of a sudden tragedy that occurred last night, we grieve with the McNutt Family during this time because passing of our brother in Christ, Ronnie McNutt,” church leaders said.
“Ronnie will be missed by all who loved and knew him.
“He was very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric. He served his church faithfully and was loved by many.”
The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 via freephone 116 123. For more information, visit samaritans.org.