TikTok Suicide Video Warning from Mental Health Boss: 'Do Not Share This Video Under Any Circumstances'

Social media users are being urged not to share a disturbing video of a suicide that is currently circulating on TikTok and other platforms.

The graphic video reportedly shows the final moments of a man from Mississippi who died by suicide last month while streaming on Facebook Live.

Since Sunday, the footage has circulated on TikTok's 'For You' feed, with many creators warning others to keep scrolling if they see a bearded man sitting at a desk. The clip has also been hidden inside other videos that appear unrelated, reports suggest.

On TikTok, the For You page shows popular content sourced by an algorithm that plays automatically, including from unfollowed accounts. Many users are advising friends to disable auto-play features in all app settings to avoid encountering the footage.

"Do not share this video under any circumstances," Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said in a statement posted online today. "And don't share websites or places where it can be found. It puts vulnerable people at an extremely high risk of real harm. There is no reason whatsoever to share it."

The New Zealand-based group's public advisory stated the video could leave viewers "extremely distressed" and warned copies are being distributed to other websites. Social media posts suggest it has been shared on Twitter and YouTube.

TikTok is hugely popular with teenagers, with users in their teens accounting for 32.5 percent of its active user accounts in the U.S. as of June 2020, Statista said.

The Twitter account for March for Our Lives, an activist group that campaigns for laws to prevent U.S. gun violence, tweeted a link to mental health resources. It said: "There is a triggering video circulating @tiktok_us of a man [dying by] suicide using a shotgun. If you see a white man with a beard at a desk, please skip the video and report."

TW: Suicide

There is a triggering video circulating @tiktok_us of a man committing suicide using a shotgun. If you see a white man with a beard at a desk, please skip the video and report. Mental health resources available below.https://t.co/ISMKztjzl0

— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) September 7, 2020

TikTok says it is working to remove the footage from its systems and will take action against accounts that are found to be repeatedly attempting to upload clips.

A spokesperson said: "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." The statement was first obtained by The Verge.

On Twitter, Alexis Tangman, who said he was a friend of the victim, yesterday warned the "gruesome" video was in circulation, urging followers to report it.

He tweeted: "For your own safety, please institute a social media lockdown. Do not watch GIFs, TikTok videos, Facebook clips, Twitter clips...anything. If you have children, take them off of the Internet entirely."

A Facebook spokesperson told Newsweek the social network had taken steps to stop the video from spreading: "We removed the original video 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... family and friends during this difficult time."

This article has been updated to include a statement from Facebook.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can contact the organization at 1-800-273-8255, or visit its website.

In this photo illustration, the TikTok app is displayed on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. Users are being advised not to share a graphi video now spreading. Drew Angerer/Getty