“Real-time dictatorship”

French woman live-streams her own suicide on social media

Periscope is Twitter's live-streaming video app. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

French officials have launched an investigation into the death of a young woman who live-streamed her own suicide on Periscope, Twitter’s live-streaming app, as she jumped in front of a train in the suburbs of Paris on Tuesday. According to local prosecutor Eric Lallement, the woman was born in 1997 and had sent a text message to one of her close relatives just minutes before her death to announce her fatal plan. “Furthermore, she allegedly made statements to Internet users, via the Periscope application, to explain her act,” he wrote in a statement, adding that they would investigate her mobile phone as well as the information she had broadcast on Periscope. The video can no longer be seen on Periscope, but excerpts from it have been published on YouTube. In those videos, a young woman can be seen sitting in a room telling her viewers, “The video I am doing right now is not made to create the buzz but rather to make people react, to open the minds, and that’s it.”

The video is the latest in a string of disturbing incidents that have been broadcast on a live-streaming app, including a sexual assault in Ohio. Speaking to The New York Times, technology analyst Thomas Husson said these sorts of occurrences have become inevitable. “It’s both the good and bad part of these technologies: They allow people to enter other people’s private lives. It would be very difficult to prevent such events from happening, “ he said. “We now live in a dictatorship of real-time. These technologies enable real-time streaming, which can have a lot of unintended consequences. Internet giants are starting to monitor how people use their technologies in real-time, but it’s tricky. It’s almost impossible to control how people use social media.”

Read the full story at
The New York Times.

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