This post discusses content related to suicide.
Trolls are setting up fake accounts claiming to be U.S. Army veteran Ronnie McNutt, who recently died by suicide during a Facebook live stream. One of the accounts started the conspiracy theory that McNutt faked his own death.
McNutt, a 33-year-old Iraq vet who reportedly struggled with depression and PTSD, fatally shot himself in the head on Facebook Live Aug. 31, according to multiple reports. Copies of a clip featuring McNutt’s death later began circulating on social media platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, as the platforms scrambled to have them removed.
A conspiracy theory is now also circulating online, according to multiple reports, that McNutt is actually alive and well after faking the live stream. According to IBTimes, the conspiracy originated with a hoax account created in McNutt’s name by a troll. “I faked my own death because life fucking sucks you know,” a comment by the dummy account read.
In another comment, the user even promised to make a new Facebook account and “go live on it to prove” that they were McNutt and not dead.
The user said they staged the video and that they were actually “talking to (their) mom during the live.” “I feel better but i still wanna get away from this world,” the account’s comment read.
Some Twitter users and the Sun both reported that multiple hoax accounts have been created in McNutt’s name. When speaking with Forbes, McNutt’s long-time friend, Josh Steen, said fake accounts under McNutt’s name are being used to upload the video on Instagram. McNutt’s family has also reportedly been victim to numerous fake fundraisers.
The video, its copies, and the fake accounts have all raised questions regarding social media platforms’ responsibilities in keeping harmful content off of their sites, with many calling for reform under the #ReformForRonnie hashtag.
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