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Justin.TV Teen Broadcaster Commits Suicide

NewTeeVee reports that a 19-year-old male committed suicide while broadcasting himself on video site Justin.tv on Wednesday night.

On the Justin.tv blog, a message titled, “A Moment of Silence,” from CEO Michael Seibel reads:

“Justin.tv staff would like to take a moment to recognize and reflect upon the tragedy that occurred within our community today. We respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this challenging time.”

According to reports, the teen was driven by commenters on both Justin.tv and the forum bodybuilding.com, after detailing on the forums — and later leaving a suicide note — that he was going to kill himself. Viewers didn’t take him seriously, even after he began taking pills. Eventually viewers became concerned with his lack of activity and alerted authorities. The Broward County medical examiner has confirmed the youth’s death.

The act, according to reports from Mashable, was not a reaction to cyberbullying, but instead the teen’s personal dissatisfaction with life. And because he was known as a forum troll, few people watching his livecast took his threats seriously.

Though this event doesn’t put the onus on the live broadcasting network, it does raise an issue of responsibility. What role should networks, such as Justin.tv, play in responding quickly to live streaming of inappropriate content? Is there anyway a community-based site could be expected to prevent such content from streaming without the community reporting it?

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