On a different note.

21 November, 2008

Usually I don’t post two entries in quick succession but I came across this story and was strangely affected by it. Somebody committed suicide whilst on a live video chat. Details here.

And it’s not as if technology enabled the taking of a life, or as if this hasn’t happened before. A British man hung himself last year after allegedly being goaded on by fellow users on Paltalk, another live video site. There was even a widely distributed movie on the topic of live-streamed killings released earlier this year called Untraceable. But last night’s incident raises a thought-provoking question regarding free hosting of live broadcasts — what could sites like Justin.tv possibly do to prevent live-streamed snuff films?

Can anything really be done to prevent these kind of incidents? Suicide is such a severe act to begin with; not one that is committed lightly. Playing the blame game will get you nowhere. And then again, to me, there is something selfish about suggesting that one not take his/her own life. But maybe that’s the existentialist in me. Not that I don’t sympathize with the friends/family of any suicide victim.

The article provides a link to his MySpace. There’s something so strange about looking at a dead man’s MySpace. Or Facebook. Or blog etc. His page is particularly colorful, and the comments all say the same thing. “I can’t believe it.” Just goes to show you that you can never truly know somebody.

Then, of course, there is the morbid fascination with seeing somebody die live on the internet. Just when you think notions of Big Brother couldn’t get any stranger…


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