A pal of Ronnie McNutt, the man who livestreamed his own suicide online in a clip that then went viral, has blasted Facebook for sharing the video.
McNutt, 33, killed himself in his Mississippi home on August 31 by shooting himself in the face with a shotgun – and livestreamed the his entire gory death from his computer.
The horrific clip has since gone viral and has been reuploaded to various social media platforms including TikTok, a video-sharing app that is hugely popular among children and teenagers, as well as Facebook.
The grim clip led many social media users, including comedian Jason Manford, to warn others not to click on the thumbnail (which shows a bearded man with glasses speaking to someone on the phone).
And now, McNutt's friend Josh Steen has said "Facebook could've stopped this and didn't", claiming that the social media giant is "directly responsible" for the video being shared.
"Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms could ban accounts, IPs, and stop the spread of this video," Mr Steen told Heavy.
"YouTube can flag you for using two seconds of a copyrighted song, but can’t seem to filter out my friend ending his life.
"It does not make sense."
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TikTok said it is actively working to block the spread of the video on its app.
Mr McNutt, a US Army veteran, worked at a Toyota plant in Blue Springs, New Albany, with Mr Steen saying his friend suffered from PTSD after serving in Iraq.
"He didn’t seem to be the same guy that left for Iraq once he exited the service. I spent many a late night in our studio, via text message, and in person talking with him about life and his struggles," he said.
Tragically, Mr Steen said he believes his friend did not mean to die by suicide.
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He added that Ronnie would often start Facebook live videos to "ramble" but on this occasion he was "incredibly drunk".
It is understood that Ronnie was struggling over recent relationship issues.
According to Mr Steen, the video was first reported to Facebook while Ronnie was still alive but he says he had "no response from Facebook" until 11.51pm – 90 minutes after Ronnie died.
It wasn't until 1.30am that the video was removed, Mr Steen claims.
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He also alleges that cops had been called and were standing outside Ronnie's house while watching the live stream.
Facebook allegedly said they would not be removing the video, writing: "This post will remain on Facebook because we only remove content that goes against our Community Standards. Our standards don’t allow things that encourage suicide or self-injury."
A Facebook spokesman said: "We removed the original video from Facebook last month on the day it was streamed and have used automation technology to remove copies and uploads since that time.
"Our thoughts remain with Ronnie's family and friends during this difficult time."
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Following the gruesome death, dozens of warnings have been shared by social media users warning others not to unintentionally watch the clip.
"If you see this guy on your FYP [For You page] please scroll up immediately, it's very gruesome and I highly suggest you stay away from TikTok for a while," one Twitter user said.
"I was scrolling TikTok and suddenly there's a video of a guy that killed themselves with a shotgun and I am seriously warning you DO NOT watch it DO NOT SEARCH FOR IT because it's very terrifying and gory so pls BE CAREFUL god damn I'm shaking," another said.
A TikTok spokesperson told Daily Star Online: "On Sunday night, clips of a suicide that had been livestreamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok.
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"Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide.
"We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who've reported content and warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the person and their family.
"If anyone in our community is struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone who is, we encourage them to seek support, and we provide access to hotlines directly from our app and in our Safety Centre."
There are unconfirmed reports that he had lost his job and broken up with his girlfriend before his suicide.
He was a member of Celebration Church Tupelo, which confirmed his death in a post on its Facebook page on September 1.
"In the midst of a sudden tragedy that occurred last night, we grieve with the McNutt Family during this time because passing of our brother in Christ, Ronnie McNutt," it said.
"Ronnie will be missed by all who loved and knew him. He was very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric. He served his church faithfully and was loved by many.
"Although events surrounding his death were tragic, we take comfort in our Creator, believing that because of Ronnie's confession and conversion as a believer in Christ Jesus, he is currently before our loving Father."
The church has launched an online fundraiser to raise money for Mr McNutt's family.
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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