Simone Back, a depressed woman of Brighton, East Sussex, UK, committed suicide on Christmas as her 1,000+ Facebook friends mocked a note she left on the social networking website.
Back, 42, posted her final status update at 10:53 p.m. It read, “Took all my pills be dead soon so bye bye everyone.” The message received cruel comments from friends that lived just minutes away.
For example, at 11 p.m., a Facebook friend commented, “Fuck you she od all the time and she lie [sic]”. Two minutes later a friend replied, “I hope that she is lying about this or you’re going to feel guilty tomorrow,” as reported by Mail Online.
Back was thought to have relationship problems and feared that her girlfriend had cheated on her.
According to The Sun, of the 148 responses to the status, only one suggested getting help. On Boxing Day at 12:09 a.m., an American friend posted, “’Did you catch the part about Simone taking pills?? … the ‘bye bye’ part?? Did anyone go by personally and check on Simone… or call 999?? what’s wrong with you people?? is the gossip really more important than her??’ ”
A “friend” responded, “She does it all the time, takes all of her pills,” adding: “She’s not a kid anymore.”
After receiving a text message, Back’s mother, Jennifer Langridge, phoned the police who broke into Back’s apartment on Boxing Day to find her dead.
“Nobody told me anything about it until the following day when I was sent a text saying ‘Get help’. I am disabled so can’t get up the stairs to Simone’s flat so I called the police straight away,” said Langridge in an interview with Mail Online. “It is upsetting to think nobody did anything for my daughter.”
Back’s friend, Samantha Owen, 48, of Southampton, said in an interview with The Sun, “Facebook bullies pushed her into this—then sat and did nothing as she died. Could they have done that if she was in the room? Some lived nearby. If just one had went to her house her life could have been saved.”
After the discovery of Back’s body, Langridge posted a message on her daughter’s Facebook page, stating, “My daughter Simone passed away today so please leave her alone now.”
In an interview with The Sun, Graham Bell, of Brighton Depression Alliance, said, “It is a sad reflection on our community. People need friends in the real world as well as the online world.”
“We have a close working relationship with the Samaritans and have a process in place whereby friends and family who are concerned about someone can report it to us through the help centre,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement. “The safety of people who use Facebook is of paramount importance to us and this system is just one of number of tools we have in place to help them stay safe.”