A man in Phuket filmed himself killing his girlfriend’s child and then himself on Facebook Live, Thai police said Tuesday, the latest example of the social network’s live-streaming function being used to broadcast grisly crimes.
Officers on the southern resort island said they were alerted to the video by friends of the man and rushed to an abandoned hotel near the international airport on Monday afternoon.
“They had already died when I arrived there,” Lieutenant Jullaus Suvannin, one of the first on the scene, told AFP, adding a smartphone was found propped up against a wall.
Police said they believed the man, Wuttisan Wongtalay, had previously argued with the mother of the murdered child, an 11-month girl.
It was not immediately clear whether the child was his.
Channel 3 television broadcast footage of the child’s distraught mother, flanked by relatives, picking up both her daughter’s body and the man’s corpse from the local hospital on Tuesday.
Phuket’s governor called on Thais not to share the four-minute clip of the murder and suicide, copies of which could still be found on the social network on Tuesday afternoon, some 24 hours after it went live.
It showed the man hanging the helpless girl from the edge of the derelict hotel.
Wuttisan’s moment of suicide was not broadcast in the clip but his body was later found hanging the same way.
In a statement late Tuesday Facebook described the incident as “appalling”.
“There is absolutely no place for content of this kind on Facebook and it has now been removed,” the social network told AFP.
The killing comes just days after Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg vowed to work to keep the world’s leading social network from being used to propagate harrowing acts like murder and suicide.
Zuckerberg was responding to pressure after a man in the US state of Ohio used Facebook Live to broadcast footage of himself walking up to a stranger in the street and shooting him dead.
The killer went on to fatally shoot himself after a massive manhunt and police chase.
During a speech last Wednesday Zuckerberg conceded that Facebook had “a lot of work” to do on the issue.
“We are going to work on building common ground, not just getting more opinions out there,” he added.
Facebook already has a 24-hour team of moderators who decide whether to remove content that is reported to them. Suicides and crimes are prioritised.
But the network says they are limited by how quickly they can respond to the sheer volume of content posted online each day.
They add that there have been instances where reported videos of a suicide attempt has resulted in a person being saved by local law enforcement, including such a case in Thailand in January.