Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysian teenager who posted an Instagram poll asking if she should live or die took her life after a majority of respondents said yes, sparking calls for an investigation.
The unidentified 16-year-old from Kuching in Sarawak died after posting the poll Monday on the Facebook-owned picture sharing platform. Police have classified the case as ‘sudden death’. ‘Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L,’ she wrote, according to a report on the news portal Astro Awani, with the letters ‘D’ and ‘L’ apparently referring to ‘die’ or ‘live’ respectively.
Sixty-nine percent of votes cast were in favour of her ending her life, with just 31 percent against, local media quoted police as saying. Lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh called for a probe into the circumstances of her death.
‘I urge the authorities… to investigate the social media accounts of the victim and the circumstances that led to her death to prevent further abuse of social media in similar circumstances in the future,’ he said. ‘It is important that incidents such as this do not repeat themselves,’ he added.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq tweeted that he was ‘genuinely worried’ about the state of mental health of young people in Malaysia. ‘It’s a national issue which must be taken seriously. A national discussion must take place,’ he said.
Ching Yee Wong, head of communications for Instagram APAC, said in a statement: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with this young woman’s family.
‘We have a deep responsibility to make sure people using Instagram feel safe and supported. As part of our own efforts, we urge everyone to use our reporting tools and to contact emergency services if they see any behavior that puts people’s safety at risk.’
In 2017, British teen Molly Russell took her own life after going online to read about suicide, sparking a debate about regulating children’s social media use. Instagram subsequently announced a clampdown on images of self-harm.