Short-form video platform TikTok allegedly waited nearly 3 hours to call police after a 19-year-old live streamed his death.
According to The Intercept, TikTok officials reportedly neglected to inform police of the incident for three hours, despite immediately taking internal measures to prevent the video from going viral.
A report from The Intercept claims that the company was made aware of the incident at 5pm, but didn’t call police until 7.56pm. In that time, it is alleged that the company used a public relations strategy to keep the story out of the media.
In the days before the 19-year-old took his own life, he shared messages on the platform promising a “special performance,” prompting nearly 300 concerned viewers to watch the stream.
Reports claim the video remained on the platform for over an hour and a half, receiving 15 complaints and nearly 500 comments during that time.
According to a former employee of TikTok’s parent company, the brand prepared a press statement asserting that the company policies do not allow for “content that promotes personal injury or suicide,” however, this statement was never released.
“We remain deeply saddened by this tragic incident and sympathise with the family,”a statement obtained by The Intercept said. “We encourage anyone who needs support or is concerned about a friend or family member to contact a suicide hotline.”
TikTok is not the only platform to face criticism for its handling of sensitive and potentially triggering content, with YouTube and Facebook previously receiving backlash for failing to remove this sort of content in a timely manner.
Since its debut in 2018, TikTok has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times, with Brazilian teens being one of the app’s most popular users across the world.
Content warning: This article deals with suicide. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or suffering from mental health issues, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.Image: Getty Images