Malaysian Teen Commits Suicide After Asking Instagram Followers for Advice

The teenager posted a poll asking if she should choose life or death.

A Malaysian teenager has jumped to her death after posting a poll on Instagram asking her followers where she should choose to live or die. Hours before jumping the 16-year old ran a poll on her Instagram story asking "Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L". District police chief Aidil Bolhassan told Reuters that the 'D/L' meant 'Death/Life', and that the poll had shown 69% of the girl's followers chose 'D'.

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The police are investigating the death. It is believed the teenager suffered from depression.

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Voters could face criminal charges 

Instagram said that once the poll time of 24 hours had been completed the final result showed 88% in support of living. Some lawmakers in Malaysia have suggested the girl's followers who voted for ‘death’ could be held liable for assisting suicide.

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In Malaysia anyone convicted of abetting the suicide of a minor faces the possibility of the death penalty or up to 20 years' jail and a fine. Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the death was a wakeup call to take youth mental health seriously.

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Instagram ban self-harm content

Wong Ching Yee, Instagram's head of communications in the Asia-Pacific expressed the company’s sorrow at the death and said they have a responsibility for the safer of its users.

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"As part of our own efforts, we urge everyone to use our reporting tools and to contact emergency services if they see any behavior that puts people's safety at risk," Wong said.

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Instagram banned images of self-harm and other related imagery from the platform in February. Pressure mounted on the social media site - which is owned by Facebook- from parents of a British teen who committed suicide in 2017.

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The girl's parents believed viewing content on Instagram contributed to the girl's decision. 

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If you see content on Instagram that indicates someone is likely to self-harm please contact relevant authorities immediately.

You can also report the content to Instagram, though it is unclear how the company responds to this.  You can also share with the relevant resources such as the numbers further below. 

To report a post for suicide or self-injury:

1. Tap the three dots above the post.

2. Select It's Inappropriate > Self-injury.

3. Tap Report [Android only].

If you have feelings of suicide or self-harm please seek help immediately. You don’t need to be alone.

In the U.S the Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. Call them on 1-800-273-8255.

In the UK you can contact the Samaritans 24 hours 365 days a year for free on 116 123.

In Europe check your local support center here.

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