Live Teenager Suicide On Justin.tv Highlights Online Social Phenomenon

The suicide of Abraham Biggs on Live video streaming website Justin.tv has apparently been watched by more than 1500 viewers.

The teenager, who had threatened to commit suicide before, had been seemingly encouraged by some to make the move. The 19-year old, who is known on the site as "feels like ecstasy", overdosed on a cocktail of antidepressant pills, in front of hundreds, many of whom believed it was a hoax.

The authorities were later alerted by site's moderators and Justin.tv community and the police only reached him 12 hours later.

Mr Biggs had been leaving hints of his plans online, on his blog and forums. And after his death, the stream was closed after it was reviewed by Justin.tv.

The sister of the defunct, Rosalind, slammed Justin.tv for profiteering from the suffering of others as they raked up the viewers and the hits (and hence the money) while her father asked for more regulations of chatrooms.

The issue is that monitoring chatrooms requires precious resources, legal framework and time and the risk of having hoaxes or fake suicide attempts are evident.

Lifecasting, is quickly becoming a growing, mainstream phenomenon, growing far beyond its original, seedy, origins (think live XXX webcams) and sites like Justin.tv are quickly spreading out as reality television programmes (like Big Brother), social networking websites, cheap broadband and free and easy access to websites like Justin.tv, qik, veodia or ustream.tv, makes it socially acceptable to broadcast one's life online.

And matters of life and dead have become common themes on social networking websites with dozens of attempted/apparent suicide videos on Youtube and scores of groups on sites like Facebook to discuss suicide and suicide prevention.

Below, an Associated Press Video with more on the live suicide.

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