Malaysian Teen Kills Herself After Instagram Followers Vote for Her Death in Poll
By Carl Samson
May 16, 2019
A 16-year-old girl in East Malaysia tragically ended her life after posting a poll on Instagram asking her followers
The teenager, who has not been identified, jumped to her death from the third floor of a building in Kuching, Sarawak on Monday night.
A police investigation revealed that the teen decided to kill herself after running a poll on Instagram, which allegedly asked followers whether she should live (“L”) or die (“D”).
As it turned out, 69% of participants voted for “D,” while 31% voted for “L.”
After the teen’s death, Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament Ramkarpal Singh asked investigators to look into her social media accounts for possible motivations, according to the Malay Mail.
“Various questions arise from this unfortunate incident,” he said. “Would the girl still be alive today if the majority of netizens on her Instagram account discouraged her from taking her own life?”
Aside from the Instagram poll, authorities also found that the teen posted “WANNA QUIT F*CKING LIFE I’M TIRED” on Facebook, while her WeChat status wished her friends well.
“The teenager was believed to have felt stressed when her stepfather married a Vietnamese woman and seldom returned to their home,” said Padawan District Police Chief Superintendent Aidil Bolhassan.
While police found no criminal motive in her death, those who voted “D” may face a prison sentence for 20 years.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said that offenders may be liable under Section 305 of the Penal Code, which states that it is unlawful to incite someone below 18 to commit suicide.
Meanwhile, some users defended those who voted for “D,” arguing that they could not have known what it stood for.
“D or L could have meant anything. Dockers or Lacoste? DOTA or LOL? D or L isomers?” one said.
Instagram, which conducted its own review of the poll, found that 88% actually voted for “L” in the 24 hours it ran, according to Reuters.
However, Bolhassan claimed that the numbers may have changed after the teen’s death started making headlines.
Instagram has since extended condolences to the teen’s family and acknowledged their responsibility to create a safe environment for users.
“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,” said Wong Ching Yee, Instagram’s head of communications in the Asia-Pacific.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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