KEY POINTS

  • The Chinese influencer said she was diagnosed with depression and that she had been in the hospital for over two months
  • Her family confirmed she died Friday after she drank pesticide during her livestream
  • The influencer's family is now seeking to sue the netizens allegedly responsible for her death

A Chinese online personality died by suicide last week after she was encouraged by some members of her audience to drink pesticide during a livestream on social media.

The 25-year-old female influencer, who goes by the name "Luoxiaomaomaozi" on the Chinese app Douyin, died Friday after swallowing pesticide during a broadcast the day before, The Global Times and Yahoo News reported.

The influencer revealed in the short Douyin stream prior to her death that her friends knew she was diagnosed with depression and that she had been in the hospital for over two months, according to The Global Times.

"This is probably my last video as I have been suffering from depression for a long time," Luoxiaomaomaozi, who had 678,000 followers and 38 short videos on the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, was quoted as saying by the state-owned newspaper.

Luoxiaomaomaozi ended up drinking a pesticide-laced beverage because someone encouraged her, an unnamed friend of the influencer said. The influencer called a hospital after the livestream, but her family confirmed she died Friday after emergency medical treatment failed.

Screenshots of Luoxiaomaomaozi's broadcast, which has since gone viral online, reportedly showed some in her audience saying "drink it quickly," as she took out the pesticide during her stream. Others warned to call the police.

The Chinese influencer had not thought about killing herself but wanted to attract her boyfriend that way, her friend claimed.

The influencer’s family is now seeking to sue the audience members they alleged are responsible for her death.

Netizens whose messages are determined to have a direct connection to Luoxiaomaomaozi's suicide could be suspected of intentional homicide, according to lawyer Ding Jinkun of Shanghai-based Dabang Law Firm.

Video platforms should also bear corresponding administrative and civil liabilities for failing to detect and prevent the suicide, the lawyer claimed.

A similar incident involving the suicide of a 16-year-old boy from Oregon in 2020 forced Snapchat to suspend some of its apps this year after the messaging and social video platform was sued over the death.

Social media giant Facebook, for its part, has rolled out an AI algorithm that attempts to detect and flag suicidal content on its platform. Academics, however, have raised legal and ethical concerns regarding the system.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours, every day.

doctor-840127_1920 Represention. Chinese influencer Luoxiaomaomaozi called a hospital after swallowing pesticide, but she died after emergency medical treatment failed. Photo: Pixabay