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Periscope suicide prompts investigation in France

Periscope suicide prompts investigation in France

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French officials have opened an investigation into the death of a young woman in Paris, who broadcasted her suicide on the live-streaming app Periscope. According to a report from The New York Times, the unnamed woman, 19, talked about her distress and mental health during the video, before jumping in front of a commuter train at the Égly station, 25 miles south of the French capital.

The video was broadcast on May 10th, at around 4:30PM local time. Clips from the live stream have appeared on YouTube, and show the young woman talking calmly to the camera in what appears to be her apartment. According to the Times, she identified herself as an employee at a retirement home, and told viewers: "The video I am doing right now is not made to create the buzz but rather to make people react, to open the minds, and that’s it."

Emergency workers can be seen picking up the phone

Copies of the video uploaded online cut to black after the woman has been speaking to the camera. It's not clear if the footage has been edited by the uploader. The Times notes that commenters did not appear to be taking the woman's distress seriously, remarking: "We’re waiting," "Always a pleasure to see you," and "Give us a hint." Later in the video, an emergency worker can be heard saying, "I am under the train with the victim; I need to move the victim," before the phone is discovered by a fire fighter who shuts the video off. The app shows the stream had 1,208 viewers.

The live streaming of violent acts has become an increasingly prominent issue. Last month, an 18-year-old woman and 29-year-old man from Ohio were charged with kidnapping, rape, and sexual battery, after they live-streamed the sexual assault of a 17-year-old on Periscope. The pair deny the charges, but state prosecutors noted that the woman — who filmed the attack — never called 911 and can be heard "giggling and laughing" during the video.

Asked for comment on this most recent case, a spokesperson for Twitter said: "We do not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons." They also highlighted the company's reporting portals for both law enforcement and self-harm.

Update May 11th, 7:55AM ET: Official comment from Twitter added.

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