- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Marine veteran stabbed himself to death Monday night and documented his actions on Facebook.

Despite requests from family and friends of Daniel Rey Wolfe, Facebook refused to remove the graphic photos until Wednesday because the images did not break their community standards, The Daily Mail reported.

“His friends and family were exposed to images they should never had to [have] seen,” Douglas Tripp, one of Wolfe’s former Marine comrades, told reporters at Gawker. “Who needs to see their son, brother, cousin or friend like that? They will remove a picture of a bare [expletive] or exposed breast with the quickness. How are those more dangerous than a young man mutilating himself before he commits suicide?”

Facebook initially defended it decision to leave Mr. Wolfe’s photos of deep puncture wounds on his legs and captions with goodbye messages, but drew criticism from veterans groups.

The social media site told investigators at Gawker that the site makes a distinction between cases of someone who is documenting their own self-harm as opposed to someone promoting others to self-harm.

Officials at Facebook worried that by removing the cries for help that family and friends would not know to intervene.

“Facebook has long relied on guidance from suicide prevention and other mental health experts to equip friends and others to take action when they notice a friend in distress,” a spokesman for Facebook told the Daily Mail.

“As part of this approach, we’ve been advised of the importance of allowing images of self-harm to remain on Facebook since they are legitimate cries for help and will increase the likelihood a friend reaches them in time.

“We of course remove content reported to us for encouraging or promoting self-harm,” the spokesman told the Daily Mail.

According to the British news agency, Mr. Wolfe, a father of one, was suffering from deep depression due to financial problems and an undiagnosed case of PTSD.

Mr. Wolfe, who served in the Marines from 2004 to 2008 and toured in Iraq, had become a drifter in his community in Tulsa, Okla. Police said he was a troubled man.

On Sunday night, he took to Twitter and began a series of tweets that indicated he planned to commit suicide.

“The only fight I ever lost was the one to myself,” he began, shortly after tweeting. “When my body moves no more give me a vikings funeral.”

After sending several more tweets, he took to Facebook to post photos, depicting his downward spiral into self-mutilation.

Friends left comments on the photos, begging Mr. Wolfe to reach out to someone and to give them a location so they could help.

In the final photo, depicting gruesome stab wounds all over his legs, Mr. Wolfe left the caption, “I’m [leaking] good now.”

Friends rallied on Facebook via comments and messages to try and locate Mr. Wolfe, but they were unable to find him in time.

Friends and veterans groups all contacted the social media site to have the photos removed, but were met with a robotic message.

“We reviewed the photo you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn’t violate our community standards,” the initial reply said.

The photos were finally removed after family members contacted Facebook.

A Facebook spokesman responded to the tragedy saying, “We’re saddened by this tragedy and offer our deepest sympathies to Mr. Wolfe’s friends and family, particularly those who worked so quickly to reach him during his time of need,” the Daily Mail reported.

“As soon as people reported these posts and photos to Facebook, we immediately suggested a crisis hotline and attempted to connect Mr. Wolfe with specific suicide prevention resources. His friends took action and notified police as well as the Veterans Crisis Line. Despite their swift response, we were notified of Mr. Wolfe’s death and unpublished his profile,” the spokesman said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide