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Crime

Georgia girl’s Facebook Live suicide attempt thwarted just in time

A girl logs onto Facebook in this June 4, 2012 file photo.
A girl logs onto Facebook in this June 4, 2012 file photo. Paul Sakuma/AP

A 12-year-old girl was prevented from streaming her suicide on Facebook Live after police in Macon, Georgia received several calls about her plight, including one from Facebook itself, local media reported.

Sheriff’s deputies rushed to the girl’s home to find that she had swallowed some pills and placed a plastic bag over her head, Sgt. Linda Howard with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office told CBS affiliate WMAZ TV. The girl was taken to hospital before she could hurt herself, and is now safe.

The local Board of Education was involved in tracking down her address, WMAZ TV reported.

READ MORE: Facebook facing criticism after Thai man livestreams daughter’s murder

“It’s a good thing that the people watching this called it in,” Sheriff David Davis told the Macon Telegraph. “Those people did the right thing.”

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“All social media is a conduit for attention,” he continued. “Even in this tragic situation, this young lady was looking for attention, and thankfully, the right people were watching… it could have been more tragic.”

In December, another Atlanta 12-year-old streamed her suicide online after claiming to have been sexually abused by a family member. She died before authorities learned of the video.

READ MORE: Gang rape of Chicago teen watched by dozens on Facebook Live and no one reported it, police say

“We are a voyeuristic society,” Davis said.

“It’s really troubling that you have things like this, to have access to people being able to put something up live, as it happens… we see more often that it ends in regret.”

The close call comes only two days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media giant would hire 3,000 people to add to its 4,500-strong team dedicated to monitoring and flagging inappropriate content, including videos and livestreams showing suicide and violence.

READ MORE: Facebook hiring 3,000 workers to catch and remove streaming violence

“We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner — whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

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He also claimed that another potential Facebook Live suicide was averted last week after the network reached out to law enforcement.

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