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A Man Died After Setting Himself on Fire on Facebook Live, Police Say

May 15, 2017

A man died after setting himself on fire in a Facebook Live video early Saturday morning, authorities said.

Officers received a call just after midnight regarding the video, which has since been taken down, Louis Brownlee, public information officer for the Memphis Police, said. Once they arrived on scene, police said they found the man with "severe burns to his body" and another man who suffered burn injuries after "trying to kick the lighter away from" the man who set himself on fire.

Brownlee said the man died from his injuries after being taken to Regional Medical Center in Memphis.

Facebook confirmed the incident, but was unable to provide details on how long the video was online or how many people may have seen it. A spokesperson for Facebook said they are "deeply saddened" by the loss.

"We don’t allow the promotion of self-injury or suicide on Facebook," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "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.”

In May, Facebook announced it was hiring 3,000 more people to review content on its platform that might contain violent material, which was in addition to 4,500 people already reviewing content at the company.

The video comes after other violent incidents have been streamed through the Facebook Live service, including a Cleveland man shooting a stranger.

Facebook said it is making efforts to help users that share thoughts of depression or suicide and has developed tools that allow users to flag concerning posts to the social media company, which will then provide the poster with suicide prevention resources.

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