Facebook murders

Facebook murders

So now the sun never sets on countries where people have murdered in order to boost their Facebook followers.

Last Monday Wuttisan Wongtalay of Phuket picked up his 11-month-old daughter Natalie, nicknamed Beta, and took her to the third floor of an abandoned hotel. He turned on his phone camera, pointed it at Beta, tied and tightened a rope around her neck, watched as she strangled to death slowly, all this streaming to his Facebook account and the world. Then he turned off the camera and hanged himself.

For the next 24 hours, revolted Facebook users saw, shared and commented starkly on the pair of Wuttisan's snuff videos -- 370,000 views and hundreds of shocked comments -- while Facebook did the following: nothing.

Natalie's mother Jiranut 'Bew' Trairat and family kissed and buried Baby Beta Saturday with her belongings and favourite toys. (Reuters photo)

And then Facebook told one of The Three Biggest Lies: "There is absolutely no place for content of this kind on Facebook." And it added more equally odoriferous frass.

Turn off your fake shocked face, Facebook. This has happened over and over on your service. It was going on long before Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook Live to Thailand on Aug 5 of last year. Girl fights, gang fights, car crashes, suicides, murders ... None of them was new to Facebook when Wuttisan got even with his common-law wife by killing their daughter, live to the world.

Not only does Facebook allow such violence. It invites the posting of sickening video and photos by promising to glorify them with global, instant attention. To Facebook, it is fresh, original content for website and app, whether it's a cute cat or a murder-suicide. The week before Phuket, a Facebook user in Cleveland, in the US state of Ohio, murdered a random man for his Facebook Line account. The day after Phuket, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police launched a search for the man behind the Facebook broadcast of a woman kicked in the face by one man while a second pinned her arms.

How efficient is Facebook? The Thai government knew about Natalie's murder on Facebook before Facebook knew. After the government officially notified Facebook, it still took Facebook five hours to lift a finger.

Facebook Live sends video from your phone straight out on the internet, while simultaneously parking it on your Facebook page for later, time-shifted viewing. It is a rather obvious invitation to show-offs, and irresistibly delectable to sociopaths.

Five days before Facebook's broadcast of the Phuket filicide, the billionaire Mr Zuckerberg said, "We have a lot of work to do" on the issue. This is supposed to be an improvement on the emesis-inducing, "We do not allow this kind of content".

Dr Boonruang Triruangworawat, chief of the Mental Health Department, was much more credible when he said Wuttisan's live-streamed murder of his child could cause copycat killings. He was just unaware the Phuket murder-suicide was already a copycat crime.

The twisted Wuttisan Wongtalay killed his baby Natalie and then himself in the most horrific manner - apparently out of jealousy. (Photo handout via Reuters)

The precise percentage of responsibility that goes to Facebook has been and will be debated. What's not debatable is that Facebook has responsibility. Here's why.

On April 16, eight days before Natalie was killed, Steve Stephens of Cleveland was considering his response to being tossed out and jilted by his girlfriend. He decided to take his phone and his gun and go hunting. He hooked the phone up to Facebook Live and jacked a round into his handgun as he stopped his car beside a nice old man, Robert Godwin, 74, a self-taught mechanic and grandfather of 14.

Stephens trained the gun on the randomly chosen Godwin, forced the elderly man to say his ex-girlfriend's name, then shot him dead. Two days later, when police caught him, he shot himself.

Now Wuttisan of Phuket, looking to strike back at the woman who made him jealous. "She'll be sorry." She saw the killing on Facebook live and went, distraught, to the police.

This illustrates a seriously major problem about Facebook. And let's be fair, there might be a few Facebook employees as sickened as normal people by such videos. It's just that "We do not allow" such videos is so bovinely excremental.

Facebook encourages all uploads because uploads are Facebook's multi-tens-of-billion-dollars bottom line. The real problem is that weak, stupid or sick people see a Stephens murder or a Wuttisan hanging video and those kind of people aren't shocked, they're intrigued. "Wow, so that is how I can get noticed on Facebook."

If Facebook didn't have lousy standards, it wouldn't have any standards at all.

Below: Flashback to Aug 5, 2016: Mark Zuckerberg introduces Facebook Live to the world. He didn't mention the possibility of live-streaming a murder and suicide but it has been done several times. (Creative Commons via Brand Buffet)

Alan Dawson

Online Reporter / Sub-Editor

A Canadian by birth. Former Saigon's UPI bureau chief. Drafted into the American Armed Forces. He has survived eleven wars and innumerable coups. A walking encyclopedia of knowledge.

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