A FRIEND of Ronnie McNutt's has blasted Facebook for not stopping a live-stream video of the US army veteran's death.
Harrowing footage of Mr McNutt's suicide has gone viral on social media after the 33-year-old from Mississippi killed himself at home on August 31.
His friend Josh Steen said "Facebook could've stopped this and didn't", claiming that the social media giant is "directly responsible" for the video being shared.
"Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms could ban accounts, IPs, and stop the spread of this video. YouTube can flag you for using two seconds of a copyrighted song, but can’t seem to filter out my friend ending his life. It does not make sense," Mr Steen told Heavy.
Mr Steen said Ronnie suffered from PTSD after serving with the US Army in Iraq.
"He didn’t seem to be the same guy that left for Iraq once he exited the service. I spent many a late night in our studio, via text message, and in person talking with him about life and his struggles," he said.
Mr Steen said he has watched the whole video, and believes that his friend did not mean to kill himself.
He said Ronnie often went live on Facebook to "ramble" – but in the video he was "incredibly drunk, and that plus his recent relationship issues led to the end result".
The video was first reported to Facebook while Ronnie was still alive but Mr Steen said he had "no response from Facebook".
He claimed cops had been called and were standing outside Ronnie's house while watching the live stream.
Mr Steen said he didn't receive a message back from Facebook until 11.51pm – around 90 minutes after Ronnie died.
Facebook allegedly said they would not be removing the video, writing: "This post will remain on Facebook because we only remove content that goes against our Community Standards. Our standards don’t allow things that encourage suicide or self-injury."
It wasn't until 1.30am that the video was removed, Mr Steen claims.
A Facebook spokesman said: "We removed the original video from Facebook last month on the day it was streamed and have used automation technology to remove copies and uploads since that time."
"Our thoughts remain with Ronnie's family and friends during this difficult time."
Mr McNutt worked at a Toyota factory in Blue Springs, New Albany, and was a member of the Celebration Church Tupelo which confirmed his death on Facebook.
“Ronnie will be missed by all who loved and knew him. He was very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric. He served his church faithfully and was loved by many,” the church wrote.
“Although events surrounding his death were tragic, we take comfort in our Creator, believing that because of Ronnie’s confession and conversion as a believer in Christ Jesus, he is currently before our loving Father.”
Networks including TikTok and Snapchat are scrambling to remove the clip, which has been widely shared by users while there are fears the video could have spread onto other apps such as YouTube and Instagram.
The footage has appeared on including on TikTok's 'For You' trending homepage, where it could potentially have been seen by hundreds of thousands of the platform's young users.
Parents have been warned that kids are being tricked into watching the distressing footage.
Friends have spoken of their horror after Mr McNutt's tragic death.
One said: “Please say a prayer right now for the family of Ronnie McNutt.
"He just killed himself live on Facebook and I cannot unsee this.
"I tried but apparently it wasn’t quick enough to reach him.
"I wasn’t quick enough.
"Dear God, I wish I could have got to him.”
MILLIONS MAY HAVE WATCHED
Social media sites are still scrambling to remove clips of the incident more than a week on.
Bosses at TikTok are banning anyone who re-uploads it.
There are reports that the video appeared on TikTok's 'For You' trending homepage.
That means it could have been viewed by millions of people.
Many horrified app users say they saw the footage unintentionally, and have warned others to be wary.
Those who have seen the shocking video have urged other TikTok users not to click on a thumbnail of a bearded man with glasses speaking to someone on a phone, the Daily Star reports.
One Twitter user said: "If you see this guy on your For You page, please scroll up immediately.
"It's very gruesome and I highly suggest you stay away from TikTok for a while."
Another said they'd been left "shaking" after watching the "very terrifying and gory" video.
A TikTok spokesperson said: "On Sunday night, clips of a suicide that had been livestreamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok.
"Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide.
"We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who've reported content and warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the person and their family.
You’re not alone
Here’s where to go for support
ON AVERAGE, 123 people a day die by suicide in America.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)
- The Jed Foundation
- Mental Health America
"If anyone in our community is struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone who is, we encourage them to seek support, and we provide access to hotlines directly from our app and in our Safety Centre."
There are unconfirmed reports that he had lost his job and broken up with his girlfriend before his suicide.
- The Samaritans is available 24/7 via helpline 1 (800) 273-TALK. For more information, visit samaritansusa.org
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