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Summary:

In a striking display of the power of live video, Abraham K. Biggs committed suicide on Wednesday while broadcasting himself on video site Justin.tv. As we understand it from various forum posts, the 19-year-old Floridian was apparently egged on by commenters on Justin.tv and fellow forum […]

In a striking display of the power of live video, Abraham K. Biggs committed suicide on Wednesday while broadcasting himself on video site Justin.tv. As we understand it from various forum posts, the 19-year-old Floridian was apparently egged on by commenters on Justin.tv and fellow forum users on bodybuilding.com. Biggs overdosed on pills while on camera and appeared to be breathing for hours until watchers realized he might be serious, at which point they alerted the police. The video kept running until police and EMTs broke Biggs’ door down and blocked the camera’s view.

We confirmed Biggs’ death with the Broward County medical examiner. The Justin.tv video and many of the forum posts have been taken down.

When asked about the broadcast via email, Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel said:

As for the broadcaster incident last night, we don’t comment on individual videos, however, our policy prohibits inappropriate content on Justin.tv. We rely on the community to flag videos that they feel are objectionable. Once a video is flagged, it is reviewed and quickly removed from the system if it violates our Terms of Use.

We won’t post the disturbing content here, but much of it is still online. Images of the broadcast have been posted here and here, and there’s also a suicide note from Biggs, who went by the screenname CandyJunkie. An account of forum users watching the broadcast and calling the police is here. There are also rest-in-peace comments on what appears to be Biggs’ MySpace page. The Justin.tv broadcast used to be here.

The contention that filming and uploading (and even hosting video of) a crime is a crime as well might not be valid, but given the very nature of live broadcasts, the issue becomes more complicated.

And it’s not as if technology enabled the taking of a life, or as if this hasn’t happened before. A British man hung himself last year after allegedly being goaded on by fellow users on Paltalk, another live video site. There was even a widely distributed movie on the topic of live-streamed killings released earlier this year called Untraceable. But last night’s incident raises a thought-provoking question regarding free hosting of live broadcasts — what could sites like Justin.tv possibly do to prevent live-streamed snuff films?

Justin.tv has already come under fire for another problem with live broadcasts — copyright infringement. The Premier League is reportedly threatening legal action against the site over unauthorized broadcasts of soccer games. Justin.tv, which is a free service, has maintained it complies with takedown requests according to the law — but with live broadcasts, the key event often ends before lawyers can get involved. Or in Biggs’ case, before people who care about him could get through.

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  1. Some heavy shit at that other site today – Page 3 – All The Misc Thursday, November 20, 2008

    [...] 19-year-old Commits Suicide on Justin.tv NewTeeVee [...]

  2. The Suicide on Live Web Cam…. – Marijuana Growing Thursday, November 20, 2008

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  4. I was reading the posts on the forum yesterday and they did NOT encourage him to take the pills. He took the pills BEFORE he started broadcasting live. I don’t support what the people on those forums said but I just wanted to tell the facts.

    RIP

    1. It doesnt matter if he had already taken the pills and then started broadcasting..The point is that a boy commited suicide online…and people found this funny? How can you say go for it and do it and nobody cares when a person is trying to take their own life? Its really really sad..and quite pathetic if you ask me. Maybe if people tried telling him to go tell people or maybe if someone had called the cops when the broadcast FIRST STARTED, this would not have happened. I think its pretty disturbing that out of everyone watching, very few took sympathy for the poor kid. But if its not someone you know or someone you love who cares right? Wrong. He was someones child. Someones brother,someones nephew or uncle…someones everything. And everyone turned their backs. They tried to shrug it off. It makes me sick to see the way our generation has handled things. We are the future of this world. We will raise our kids in this world. And would you like your child or your sibling or anyone you know to do this? And how would you feel after reading comments of “noone cares” and “go for it yeah this is interesting”?? This is a life we are talking about here. How do you get that lonely…?

      1. No one cared for him because he was usaully the “Attention seeker” in the forums
        Like the boy who cried wolf as a joke so much the villagers did not believe him
        Unfortunately he did what he told himself to do(most likely several times before to)

        He was just having depression alone though
        He didnt seek for help because he feared that no one would help him(What i got from his deathnote)
        Im not going to be judgemental yet
        But you cant go ahead and blame every single person who commented on his blog/topic
        They were not all fortune tellers, they had no idea and no intention to physically hurt him
        True though, they were probably hurting him with words

  5. Who sells :) – Page 2 – Marijuana Growing Thursday, November 20, 2008

    [...] RIP to a fellow bruh 19-year-old Commits Suicide on Justin.tv NewTeeVee __________________ Remember when I went into the kitchen got the cleever He ain’t give a [...]

  6. Damn… Shit got real… I saw the video of it my self but I was not part of this suicide… Im just 14 people… I was on the Teen Misc not the Misc most of the time…

  7. justin.tv is pretty much finished as a startup now. Way too much bad press :( It will be marred by this forever.

    1. SOMEONE FUCKING DIED and you’re worried about the fucking website?! what the hell is wrong with you?

      1. they killed themselves, and brought someone else’s business down with them. Thats a bit twisted to defend dont you think? now I could be wrong, maybe it is ok for everyone who commits suicide to make someone else’s life suck for a bit.

  8. This should be a good idea for a holywood movie………because it’s only good if IT’S IN ONLY IN MOVIE.

    Man….this shit is really2 creepy.

  9. Just to tell you, bodybuilding.com is down right now, IDK if its because of this or the guys buying stock share from it or something…

  10. Submitted to digg, wow .. what a thing, that bullying can go so far. But of course, he could just quit his cast and ignore these lame misc users. On the other hand, live suicide is something we don’t need where people in the room shout “do it, i dare you” and such comments. I am glad I missed it, and I am sad that JTV got stained by this. It reminds me of the broadcast of some UK bloke who hang himself after the channel called him every name in the book. Was that on ustream or jtv?

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