PARENTS have been warned that kids are being tricked into watching distressing footage of a suicide which went viral on Facebook and TikTok.
Harrowing footage of Ronnie McNutt’s suicide was shared thousands of times – sparking fury against social media giants for failing to stop its circulation.
Sites including Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat have allowed the clip to be shared widely by users for more than a week – with Mr McNutt’s friends hitting out at social media sites for the ‘failure’.
The footage has appeared on including 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 it while it is thought the video may have spread onto other apps such as YouTube and Instagram.
Some of those who use the app say they were left “shaking” after innocently watching a video which begins with a bearded man using a phone.
It’s been reported that the footage has been uploaded with the caption ‘Look at the pasta I cooked tonight’ – meaning users have no idea what they’re about to view.
And Mr McNutt’s friend Josh Steen said social media giants haven’t done enough to get rid of the footage.
He told Heavy.com: “Facebook could’ve stopped this and didn’t” – adding that Facebook is “directly responsible” for the video being shared.
One Twitter user said: “If you see this guy on your For You page, please scroll up immediately.
“It’s very gruesome and I highly suggest you stay away from TikTok for a while.”
USERS LEFT ‘SHAKING’ AFTER WATCHING VIDEO
Another said they’d were “shaking” after watching the “very terrifying and gory” video.
Bosses at TikTok say they’re banning anyone who re-uploads the footage.
Friends have spoken of their horror after Mr McNutt’s tragic death.
One said: “Please say a prayer right now for the family of Ronnie McNutt.
“He just killed himself live on Facebook and I cannot unsee this.
How to report the shocking video
TikTok provides clear instructions on how to report upsetting videos that may breach their rules and regulations.
If you find a distressing clip, open the video and press the share button, tap report and follow the online instructions.
Both accounts and comments can be reported using a similar method.
There are also reports that the video is still cropping up on Facebook and Instagram.
On Facebook, you can report a photo or video that you believe violates its Community Standards by clicking or tapping on the post to expand it.
Hover over the photo or video and hit Options in the bottom right corner.
Click Find Support or Report Photo for photos or Find support or report video for videos.
Select the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.
On Instagram, tap the three dots above the photo or video post, tap report, and then select why you’ve chosen to report the post.
“I tried but apparently it wasn’t quick enough to reach him.
“I wasn’t quick enough.
“Dear God, I wish I could have got to him.”
Mr McNutt, a former Army veteran who served in Iraq, died in Mississippi on August 31.
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.”
You’re not alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
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.”
Teams working to tackle child sexual exploitation in the UK have sent out alerts on Facebook to warn parents and youngsters of the footage.
Bosses in Warwickshire said: “There is an extremely triggering and highly graphic video currently trending on TikTok of a man live-streaming his suicide.
“While TikTok have stated that they are doing their best to remove the video, it has now been shared across all social media platforms hundreds of thousands of times, including under fake captions.
“Some captions on TikTok are as trivial as ‘Look at the pasta I cooked tonight’ before the video then plays – therefore children can come across the video without even searching for it.”
Mr McNutt worked for Toyota in Blue Springs, New Albany.
There are unconfirmed reports that he had lost his job and broken up with his girlfriend before his suicide.
However, Mr Steen says he doesn’t believe his friend began the video with the aim to end his life.
He said Mr McNutt had often gone on Facebook Live to “ramble,” but in this case, he was “incredibly drunk, and that plus his recent relationship issues led to the end result.”
Mr 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.
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“He was very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric. He served his church faithfully and was loved by many.
“Although events surrounding his death were tragic, we take comfort in our Creator, believing that because of Ronnie’s confession and conversion as a believer in Christ Jesus, he is currently before our loving Father.”
- The Samaritans is available 24/7 via helpline 1 (800) 273-TALK. For more information, visit samaritansusa.org