Ronnie McNutt's tragic last post shared minutes before live-streaming suicide was a cry for help and love
The 33-year-old army veteran who was suffering from PTSD shared his final moments in disturbing footage, which went viral across social media after he ended his life on Aug 31
MISSISSIPPI: Ronnie McNutt's last Facebook post before he began live-streaming his suicide was reportedly about "needing to know you're loved". The 33-year-old army veteran's final moments were captured in disturbing footage, which went viral on social media after he killed himself at his Mississippi home on August 31.
Facebook received major backlash for not taking down the harrowing content for over two hours because its systems did not recognize it had breached the website's guidelines.
That said, McNutt's final post on the social media platform appears to show a cry for help. "Someone in your life needs to hear that they matter," he shared in that post. "That they are loved. That they have a future. Be the one to tell them."
Josh Steen, a friend of Ronnie's, said Facebook "could've stopped this and didn't" and held the social media giant "directly responsible" for the video going viral. "Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms could ban accounts, IPs, and stop the spread of this video," 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."
The video of his suicide went viral on multiple platforms, including TikTok, which has a primarily young user base.
According to Steen, Ronnie suffered from PTSD after his deployment in Iraq as part of the US Army. "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.
However, Steen believes his friend did not mean to kill himself and said he often went live on Facebook to "ramble." In this video, however, he was "incredibly drunk, and that plus his recent relationship issues led to the end result."
Steen said the video was reported to Facebook when Ronnie was still alive, but there was "no response from Facebook." Cops had responded to Ronnie's residence and were standing outside his house while watching the live stream, he added.
Steen said he didn't receive a message back from Facebook until 11.51 pm - around an hour and a half after Ronnie died - when he learned that the platform would not be removing the video. "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," the message read.
Steen claims the video wasn't removed until 1.30 am.
Meanwhile, vile trolls set up a fake account of Ronnie McNutt, which claimed he had "faked" the suicide. "I faked my death because life fucking sucks you know, I wanted to go away and I actually edited the video and made it into a live," the hoax account said.
A Facebook spokesperson later said in a statement they had "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," it added.
McNutt's friends spoke of their shock after his tragic demise. “Please say a prayer right now for the family of Ronnie McNutt," one said. "He just killed himself live on Facebook and I cannot unsee this. I tried but apparently it wasn’t quick enough to reach him. I wasn’t quick enough. Dear God, I wish I could have got to him.”
More than a week on, a number of social media sites are still scrambling to remove clips of the incident. TikTok officials are banning any user who shares it, per a statement released by the company:
On Sunday night, clips of a suicide that had been live-streamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok. 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.