Local authorities in Malaysia reported that a 16-year-old teenage girl died by suicide after she posted a poll on Instagram, asking her followers to help her choose life or death.
The teen posted the poll around 3 pm on Monday, with the caption “Really important. Help me choose D/L” About 69% of the followers voted for “D”, which meant death. She was found dead about 5 hours later.
Local officials are now investigating if the people who had voted “death” can be held accountable for her death. In Malaysia, the abetting of the suicide of a minor is considered a crime where the guilty parties can face the death penalty or up to 20 years in prison.
Ramkarpal Singh, a lawyer and member of the Malaysian Parliament, took the helm in requesting the authorities to investigate the teen’s death.
Would the girl still be alive today if the majority of netizens on her Instagram account discouraged her from taking her own life? Would she have heeded the advice of netizens to seek professional help had they done so?”
— Ramkarpal Singh
Just a couple of months ago, Instagram had adopted new safety measures to better protect young users on their platform. Graphic images about self-harm are systematically removed and sensitive contents are blurred before it is shown. These changes occurred after a 14-year-old British girl also died by suicide back in 2017.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, please refer to your local confidential support for people in distress, as well as professional practices and resources that aid in prevention and crisis situations.