1. Sept. 29, 2012 – Ciara Pugsley, 15 years old
According to The Letrim Observer, Ciara Pugsley committed suicide in the woods near her home in Ireland last September after incessant bullying on her Ask.fm page. Users would call her things like “slut” and “ugly” in the months leading up to her taking her own life. Her last post was a reply to a question:
“Whats been up with u”
“U’ll see soon!”
A month after Ciara, Erin Gallagher, another Irish teenager, took her own life after being bullied on her Ask.fm page. Erin warned anonymous bullies on her page that she would take her own life, but the harassment about things like her weight and how she looked didn’t stop. Her last post was in response to one of her bullies:
“U prob think it was funny when [I] fuckin put a rope round my neck cause of yous, yous are that sad!’.”
Jessica Laney, a 16-year-old from Pasco County, Florida, hanged herself after being bullied about her weight on Ask.fm. After her death a Change.org petition was started demanding Ask.fm be taken down, that in the first few days after her death reached over 3,000 signatures. One of her last posts was a comment about her weight:
“you have pretty eyes but your fat”
“awesome. but i’m not fat.”
Only two months after Erin committed suicide, her older sister Shannon committed suicide. Both girls attended the same school at the center of Erin’s Ask.fm-driven bullying. According to local reports, Shannon missed her sister. She did not leave a note.
Anthony, from Lancashire, U.K., was found hanged in the woods near his home. He had been missing since Christmas. He recently had a daughter named Lily with his 18-year-old girlfriend, Charlotte Mason. By all indications Anthony was a young, proud father and generally in good spirits before he disappeared. Ask.fm became involved after news of his death spread, with a “torrent” of abuse appearing on the pages of Anthony’s girlfriend and his cousin:
“After Anthony died, Katie was still getting comments, there was even one about my other granddaughter Becky, who died 18 months earlier when she was knocked down by a car. She de-activated her account but one of her friends started getting them instead.
6. April 7, 2013 – Joshua Unsworth, 15 years old
A boy named Joshua Unsworth hanged himself due to getting bullied on Ask.Fm. RIP <3
Joshua Unsworth’s body was discovered in the garden of his family’s farmhouse in the Lancashire area of England last winter. He allegedly was bullied for months leading up to his suicide, with anonymous commenters mocking his father’s job by calling Joshua “a farmer” and harassing him about his dating habits. His parents have since started advocating that the British government do something about the site. Joshua would routinely defend himself on his Ask.fm page, receiving messages like:
“no one likes you”
“Let me tell you within that time I have learnt that words are, well, just words so whatever your miserable low life self thinks of me can say to my face or on here knowing I don’t care.”
7. July 15, 2013 – Daniel Perry, 17 years old
After being blackmailed on Skype, Daniel Perry, a 17-year-old from Scotland, jumped to his death from a local bridge. Daniel was harassed often on his Ask.fm page, with commenters telling him to kill himself and that he should cut his throat. He was then tricked into Skyping with someone he was told was a girl his own age and then blackmailed with screenshots by the anonymous users. His Ask.fm was linked to his Twitter and shows him discussing his Skype information with users a week before his suicide.
“whats your skype”
“daniel.perry68 anyone can add me…”
“do you cut yourself”
“sometimes why you wanting to know is it so you can judge me ?”
Hannah Smith was found hanging by her sister. Hannah would routinely fight with anonymous bullies on Ask.fm, at one point admitting that she had previously attempted to commit suicide in the past. Since Hannah’s death, her parents have become vocal advocates for the regulation of anonymity online. Comments Hannah received from her tormentors included comments like:
“every1 will be happy if u died”
9. Sept. 10, 2013 – Rebecca Sedwick, 12 years old
BREAKING: Body of 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick found at old cement company in Lakeland. Mom reported her missing y’day
Rebecca Ann Sedwick’s body was found in an abandoned cement silo in Lakeland, Florida, on Tuesday. The 12-year-old’s death has not been officially declared a suicide by law enforcement, but her family told local reporters that she was the victim of intense cyber-bullying on Ask.fm. Rebecca was last seen on Monday morning when she left for school. A representative for her middle school says she never reported in on Monday. She was very active on Ask.fm, with the following interactions being circulated on local news reports:
“nobody cares about u”
“Lol I know.”
“you seriously desevere to die”
“LIESSSSSSSS xDD Whateevvuuurrrr”
One of the founders of Ask.fm, Mark Terebin, posted a response to the first rash of suicides 11 months ago on his page.
Mass media is knocking on wrong door. It is necessary to go deeper and to find a root of a problem. Its not about the site, the problem is about education, about moral values that were devaluated lately. Ask.fm is just a tool which helps people to communicate with each other, same as any other social network, same as phone, same as piece of paper and pen. Don’t blame a tool, but try to make changes… start with yourself… be more polite, more kind, more tolerant of others… cultivate these values in families, in schools.
Suicide is not something to encourage via mass media. The more you promote suicide, the more it happen. Do you think mass media cares? They want scandals, they want sensations and finally they want money. Sorry, but we do not want to participate in it.
What happened is a true tragedy and we give our deepest condolences to the victim’s family and relatives.