ATLANTA (AP) — The alarming video on Facebook Live of a Georgia teenager livestreaming her own suicide attempt stayed up long enough to help sheriff’s deputies save her.
It underscores Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s assertion that keeping such videos online can allow friends and others to intervene in real time — and save lives.
The 15-year-old girl took pills and put a plastic bag over her head during her suicide attempt May 2, officials from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office said. A sheriff’s sergeant found the girl unresponsive — but with a pulse — and she’s expected to recover.
In April, Facebook was alerted to another possible suicide and made the decision to keep the video up, Zuckerberg said in a conference call Wednesday. That allowed law enforcement “to use that live video to communicate with that person and help save their life. … So a lot of what we’re trying to do is not just about taking the content down but also about helping people when they’re in need on the platform.”
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Kevin Briggs, a retired California Highway Patrol sergeant, often spoke with people as they stood on a small metal pipe outside the Golden Gate Bridge’s railings, one step from falling into the Pacific Ocean.
“What happens with these kids is they are so impulsive that they don’t see into their future, they don’t see a way out,” Briggs said.
More than 1,400 people have leaped to their deaths from the bridge since the famed California overpass opened in 1937. But scores of others have been saved when Briggs and other officers intervened.
In Georgia, a viewer watching the teen’s livestream called 911. Only the teen’s friends could view the video because of the girl’s privacy settings, but Bibb County sheriff’s Sgt. Linda Howard had a nephew who was friends with her on Facebook. She immediately called her nephew, who viewed the video and let…