For almost a week, clips from a Facebook livestream of 33-year-old veteran Ronnie McNutt taking his own life have been spreading around social media. Unwitting users of TikTok, Facebook and Instagram continue to stumble onto the gory footage of his August 31 suicide while McNutt’s family allege they’re being actively harrassed by bots and trolls reposting clips from his death.
According to Josh Steen, a long-time friend, all of this might have been avoided.Steen, who met McNutt nearly two decades ago in a community theatre in Mississippi while they were both in school, blamed the clip’s widespread distribution on Facebook’s failure to adhere to its stated restrictions on “every level.”
After hundreds of reports were made to Facebook about the two-hour-long livestream while ronnie mcnutt was still alive, Steen and many of his other friends claim they did not receive a response until nearly an hour and a half after his death, at which point they received a message from Facebook saying the video did not violate community guidelines.
When Ronnie’s video was removed, it had already gone viral, according to Steen. After eight hours, it had garnered a lot of attention. This video may not exist if Facebook had done its job.
Forbes reported that the original video was taken down “on the day it was posted,” but Steen says it remained up on McNutt’s page until nearly 2 a.m. central time on the day of the incident. At 10:30 p.m., he was declared dead. According to a later Facebook statement, the video was taken off the same day at noon pacific time. The completed broadcast was on the platform for a total of 2 hours, 41 minutes and 41 seconds.
In an interview with Forbes, a Facebook spokeswoman said, “We’re looking into how we could have pulled down the broadcast faster.”By midnight, the film had already begun to circulate in secret Facebook groups, and within a few days, snippets and memes had begun to appear across all of popular social media platforms.
Charming Animal Footage
Teens and their parents complained about movies being recommended on TikTok’s “For You” discovery page, disguised as charming animal footage. Hundreds of users have tried to publish screenshots or copies of the footage on McNutt’s genuine profile, according to Steen (it appears Instagram has blocked most from playing). A storm of online insults and fraudulent fundraisers have bombarded McNutt’s family’s Facebook profile, which is now an in memoriam page.
His entire family watched him commit, Steen said. They’re now forced to watch it over and over. Facebook (which owns Instagram), Twitter, and TikTok all declined to comment when asked by Forbes why the videos are still being shared.
He had a “strange giggle” and was “weird,extremely unusual, and very lively” according to a buddy who knew him well. According to Steen, McNutt would frequently produce YouTube videos or Facebook livestreams in which he’d “ramble” about his experiences.
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