April 20, 2018 / 8:36 AM / a month ago

Cambodian man kills ex-wife then commits suicide live on Facebook

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A Cambodian man murdered his ex-wife and then jumped off a bridge in a suicide that he broadcast live on Facebook, police said on Friday, in the first such case reported in the country.

Facebook is the social media platform of choice for Cambodians. Nearly a third of the country’s 15.8 million people are Facebook users and the network is a major source of information, particularly for young people.

Ra Chhay Rath, 21, killed his former wife at a school on Thursday then went to the nearby Tsubasa bridge, in Kandal province, and jumped into the Mekong river. Only the suicide was broadcast, police said.

“It has never happened before. It was the first case,” police spokesman Kirth Chantharith told Reuters, referring to the broadcast of the suicide.

“We are investigating to find out why he killed his ex-wife.”

Police said the man’s body had not been found.

Reuters was able to access videos of the suicide on Friday shared by Facebook users. It was not immediately clear whether anyone had reported the video or asked for it to be taken down.

A spokesman for Facebook later said the company was “deeply saddened by this tragedy” and that it had removed the video.

“We don’t allow the promotion of violence or suicide on Facebook and have removed the video,” the spokesman said in an email to Reuters.

“We want people to have a safe experience on Facebook and we work with organizations around the world to provide assistance for people in distress.”

Last year, Facebook said it would expand its pattern recognition software after successful tests in the United States to detect users with suicidal intent.

Facebook has been embroiled in a number of content moderation controversies over recent years.

It has also been accused by human rights advocates of not doing enough to weed out hate messages while it faces questions in several countries about data privacy.

Reporting by Chansy Chhorn in PHNOM PENH; Additional reporting and writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre in BANGKOK; Editing by Robert Birsel

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