A woman in Taiwan named Claire Lin killed herself by closing up a room and inhaling poisonous fumes from a charcoal barbecue that she had started. While Lin was waiting for the fumes to put her to sleep, she was chatting with friends on Facebook. Lin committed suicide on her 31st birthday dated March 18th. Lin’s last few Facebook entries show her chatting with nine friends about her slow asphyxiation with pictures she uploaded to show the charcoal barbecue from where the fumes were coming from.
One friend identified as Chung Hsin, told Lin, “Be calm, open the window, put out the charcoal fire, please, I beg you.” Lin replied, “The fumes are suffocating. They fill my eyes with tears. Don’t write me anymore.” A few of the Facebook friends she was chatting with tried to stop her and track her possible whereabouts but none of them contacted the police. Lin’s last words in Chinese were, “Too late. My room is filled with fumes. I just posted another picture. Even while I’m dying, I still want FB (Facebook). Must be FB poison. Haha”.
Lin’s Facebook postings show that she was not happy that her boyfriend had been ignoring her and failed to come over for her birthday. It was her boyfriend who found her body the next morning and alerted the family. The police officer who was part of the investigation, Hsieh Ku-Ming said that he regretted that none of her friends called the police to help during the fiasco which lasted 67 minutes but reiterated that it would have been hard for them to pinpoint her exact location had they just been Facebook friends. Facebook released a statement that said, “We are deeply saddened by Lin’s death and the case serves as a painful reminder of how people can help others who are in distress or need assistance.” While Facebook’s help page has links to suicide prevention hotlines in about 20 countries including Taiwan, they urge users to call authorities immediately in case of an emergency.