A friend of a man who live-streamed his own death on Facebook has hit out at the social media company.
Ronnie McNutt, 33, killed himself while sat in front of a desk at his home in Mississippi, broadcasting it on Facebook on August 31.
The footage went viral on Facebook and TikTok with users continuing to share it online.
There are reports that the video appeared on TikTok’s “For You” trending homepage, which would have made it harder to avoid the footage.
Facebook says the video was taken down the day it was streamed but it has since been widely shared on TikTok with the app trying to shutdown re-uploads that can quickly become viral.
Ronnie’s friend Josh Steen has said Facebook was “directly responsible” for the video being shared online.
He told Heavy.com: “Facebook could’ve stopped this and didn’t.
“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.”
Josh said Ronnie suffered from PTSD after serving in the Iraq war with the US army, adding that he “didn’t seem to be the same guy that left for Iraq once he exited the service.”
Mr Steen said he strongly believes Ronnie did not start the livestream to commit suicide. He added that Ronnie would often start Facebook live videos to “ramble” but on this occasion he was “incredibly drunk”.
It is understood that Ronnie was struggling over recent relationship issues.
According to Mr Steen, the video was reported to Facebook while Ronnie was still alive, but said he didn’t get a response until 11.51pm – 90 minutes after Ronnie died.
It wasn’t until 1.30am that the video was removed, Mr Steen claims.
He also alleges that police officers were outside Ronnie’s house while he was livestreaming.
A Facebook company spokesperson 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.”
Countless social media users have claimed they unintentionally saw the clip, and have warned others not to click on the thumbnail (which shows a bearded man with glasses speaking to someone on the phone).
“If you see this guy on your FYP [For You page] please scroll up immediately, it’s very gruesome and I highly suggest you stay away from TikTok for a while,” one Twitter user said.
“I was scrolling TikTok and suddenly there’s a video of a guy that killed themselves with a shotgun and I am seriously warning you DO NOT watch it DO NOT SEARCH FOR IT because it’s very terrifying and gory so pls BE CAREFUL god damn I’m shaking,” another said.
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.
“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.”
Mr McNutt, a former Army veteran who served in Iraq, worked at a Toyota plant in Blue Springs, New Albany.
He was a member of Celebration Church Tupelo, which confirmed his death in a post on its Facebook page on September 1.
“In the midst of a sudden tragedy that occurred last night, we grieve with the McNutt Family during this time because passing of our brother in Christ, Ronnie McNutt,” it said.
“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.
“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.”
The church has launched an online fundraiser to raise money for Mr McNutt’s family.
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email email@example.com, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.