Facebook blocks terminally ill French man from livestreaming his death

Cocq has a rare condition that leads his artery walls to stick together. He had reached out to President Emmanuel Macron to allow for euthanasia, but the leader declined saying that he “respect[ed]” the effort but couldn’t go beyond the law.

Cocq wasn’t deterred by Facebook’s restrictions. He promised a “back-up” solution for the video feed within a day, but didn’t say what service he might use next. YouTube and other video giants also have rules barring the promotion of suicide and self-harm.

It’s not surprising that Facebook would take this step. It has ramped up its suicide prevention measures for years, relying on AI and “sensitivity screens” to either block material or keep it out of sight for people who aren’t intentionally looking for it. The company had high-profile incidents in the past, and might not want to risk videos like this spurring others.

At the same time, this illustrates Facebook’s ongoing challenges with policing videos — the circumstances can vary widely, and a measure meant to protect some users might hurt others. The social network’s Oversight Board could theoretically address issues like this, but it isn’t expected to be ready before late fall. Until then, its decisions on sensitive topics are final.