Malaysian girl 'takes own life after Instagram poll'

A Malaysian teenager killed herself after a posting an instagram poll. Source: Getty

Malaysian authorities are investigating after a teenager reportedly asked her followers to choose death or life - and 69 per cent voted for death.

Content warning: This article contains references to suicide and self-harm. 

A 16-year-old has reportedly committed suicide in Malaysia, after posting a poll on her Instagram account asking others if she should die or not, and 69 per cent of followers voted that she should.

The unidentified teenager from the state of eastern Sarawak died after posting the poll on the picture-sharing platform with the message: “Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L”.

After most respondents voted for “death”, she killed herself.

Social media
A Malaysian tennager killed herself after an Instagram poll.

Police classified the case as "sudden death".

Lawyer calls for investigation

It prompted local lawyer and MP Ramkarpal Singh calling for a probe into the circumstances of her death.

"Would the girl still be alive today if the majority of netizens on her Instagram account discouraged her from taking her own life?" he asked.

"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."

Mental health worries 

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 behaviour that puts people's safety at risk."

Instagram announced a clampdown on images of self-harm in February after a British teen who went online to read about suicide took her own life.

The death of 14-year-old Molly Russell sparked a debate in Britain about regulating children's social media use.

Her parents did not directly blame Instagram for the loss of their daughter but they cited the easy access to disturbing content as a contributing factor and urged the network to respond.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide can contact Lifeline 24 hours a day online and on 13 11 14. Other services include the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, Beyond Blue and Kids Helpline (for people aged five to 25) on 1800 55 1800.

Source AFP - SBS

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