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Police save girl livestreaming her suicide attempt on Facebook

Sheriff’s deputies prevented a Georgia girl’s suicide attempt after she began livestreaming the effort on Facebook, prompting multiple people — including the social media network — to call 911. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

An apparent suicide attempt by a teenager in Georgia was stopped just in time Tuesday night, when a girl began livestreaming the effort on Facebook.

The disturbing broadcast began streaming into Facebook users’ news feeds at around 7:30 p.m., leading several people to call 911, The Telegraph in Macon, Georgia, reported.

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

Numerous people, the sheriff noted, have livestreamed their suicide attempts since the social media network launched its broadcasting option last year. This most recent case, though, was the first for Bibb County.

Roughly 30 minutes after the calls began pouring in, three patrol vehicles and an ambulance headed toward the girl’s house. In addition to several viewers calling 911, Facebook had also reported the incident to law enforcement.

At the start of the video, the teenage girl was discussing her plans to commit suicide before she began consuming pills and putting a bag over her head,  NBC News reported. When someone chooses to broadcast live like that, Bibb County Sargent Linda Howard said, “you’re hoping someone will stop you.”

And thankfully, that’s exactly what happened. When the officers found the teen, who still had a pulse, she was taken to the hospital and was in stable condition on Wednesday.

“All social media is a conduit for attention,” Davis said. “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,” he added.

The Georgia suicide attempt comes the day before Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the platform’s drastic steps to prevent gruesome videos from appearing on the network.

Zuckerberg announced Wednesday that Facebook will hire 3,000 more content moderators who will preside over live video streams and respond quickly to user issues. Currently, the company has 4,500 people working in that capacity.

“If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly,” Zuckerberg wrote in a statement. “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.”

The Facebook executive’s actions come after a man — dubbed the “Facebook Live killer” — fatally shot a random stranger last month before posting graphic footage of the crime to the social media network.

Earlier this year, Facebook added a suicide prevention tool to its livestreaming feature after a 14-year-old girl in Miami broadcast her suicide in January.

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