back to top

The Police Can't Stop People Sharing This 12-Year-Old's Suicide Video On Facebook

Georgia police say they can't force websites to remove copies of a video showing a girl killing herself.

Originally posted on
Updated on

In the video, which is over 40 minutes long, Davis can be heard to say she had been sexually abused by a family member. She then continued filming as she took her own life in front of her home.

live.me

Police rushed to the scene, but Davis was pronounced dead after being taken to Polk Medical Center’s Emergency Room.

Her family have deleted the video from Davis's Facebook page but Polk County police chief Kenny Dodd told Fox5 his department had been flooded with messages stating the video is circulating on various social media platforms, including Facebook.

We want it down as much as anyone for the family and it may be harmful to other kids. We contacted some of the sites. They asked if they had to take it down and by law they don’t. But it’s just the common decent thing to do in my opinion.

The police department issued this statement on its Facebook page on Monday:

Facebook: PolkCoPD

BuzzFeed News understands that Facebook's community operations team has taken steps to remove the video.

Polk County police have also launched an investigation into allegations of abuse and sexual assault that Davis outlined in her videos and her online diary on Dec. 27.

Facebook

Many of the diary entries have been deleted but people have screenshot them and spread them online.

Memorial accounts have popped up posting tributes and reposting some of the videos Davis made.

Facebook

Justice for Katelyn Nicole Davis is reposting older videos Davis made, but the page administrator said they believe the video containing the suicide needs to be taken down: "Because a kid or someone suicidal could see it & get triggered or scarred for life."

Update

BuzzFeed News reached out to Live.Me who said: "We were deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of community member Katelyn Nicole Davis on 12/30. Out of respect to her family, friends, and to the entire Live.me community, her account and videos were removed as soon as we were alerted and have been archived to support law enforcement in their investigations.

"We understand that users had begun circulating footage of the tragedy before our support team had been able to respond, and we are actively working to track down those videos and have them removed from Facebook and other video sharing sites.

"The responsibility of managing and protecting our community is something we take very seriously here at Live.me. We are constantly improving our automated and human monitoring methods for detecting harassment and harm, including threats of self inflicted violence. This is an area where we will continue to improve."

If you are feeling at risk of suicide or if you are worried about someone else call the Samaritans: 116 123 (UK) / 116 123 (ROI)

If you’re in the United States you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Maggy Van Eijk is the UK social media editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Maggy van Eijk at maggy.vaneijk@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.