Instagram Poll Leads In Malaysian Teen To Suicide

Police in Malaysia is investigating the alleged suicide of a teenager, which came after she asked her followers on Instagram to vote for her to commit suicide or not.

Aidil Bolhassan, district police head said the unnamed teenager, aged 16 years ran a poll through her Instagram account with a question asking people to help her choose death (D or life (L) and saying it was really important, a few hours before she jumped off a building’s roof in Sarawak on Monday.

He said 69% of people had voted ‘D’ for the girl, and that they would conduct the post-mortem to ascertain if there were any other factors for her death. The girl is said to have had depression earlier.

When Instagram reviewed the girl’s account and the poll which was open for 24 hours, they said it ended with almost 88% votes for the girl to choose Life (L). However, Bolhassan said the numbers probably changed once news of the teenager’s death spread.

Malaysian lawmakers have demanded for a deeper investigation, while Member of Parliament and lawyer Ramkarpal Singh adding that all persons who voted for her death could be charged with abetment to suicide.

Singh pondered whether the teenager could have lived if most of her followers suppressed her will to take her life, and if she would have heeded advice to seek help, had her netizens done so.

A person convicted of abetment to suicide, in Malaysia, can face imprisonment for maximum 20 years and a fine, or a death penalty.

Instagram offered its condolences to the girl’s family, and added that it has a responsibility of safeguarding its users. It urged everyone to employ the site’s reporting tools along with contacting emergency services on observing any unusual activity putting people’s lives at risk.

Graphic content pertaining to self-harm has been banned on Instagram since February, in an effort to keep their vulnerable users as safe as possible.