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French teen broadcasts suicide live on Periscope

French investigators have opened an inquiry into the suicide of a young woman who jumped in front of a train outside Paris. The 19-year-old broadcast the act live using the Periscope app.

French prosecutors opened an investigation on Wednesday after a teenager broadcast her suicide on the live-streaming app Periscope.

The act fueled the fire of controversy surrounding the Twitter-owned program, which has seen a number of other crimes, including sexual assault, shown live to users.

Before the 19-year-old woman, who has not been named, threw herself in front of a suburban train near Paris on Tuesday, she also "made statements to internet users via the Periscope application to explain her act," according to state attorney Eric Lallement.

A train starts at the Egly station, south of Paris, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. © picture-alliance/AP Photo/C. Ena

The 19-year-old woman threw herself in front of a suburban train in the community of Egly, south of Paris

An anonymous source inside the judiciary said the woman "spoke of a rape and named the aggressor" while filming, and that the claims were being treated with care.

While Periscope videos are normally available for 24 hours, the company quickly removed the footage of the woman's death from the web.

Before killing herself, the teen told her viewers that her broadcast was "not designed to create a buzz [...] but to make people react, to open their minds and nothing else."

Dark side of social media

The incident has highlighted the problematic side of the limited control companies like Twitter and Periscope have over what their users publish.

In March, another high-profile crime in the United States was streamed live on Periscope when an 18-year-old woman allegedly taped her 17-year-old friend's rape at the hands of a 29-year-old man. The suspect has pled not guilty to kidnapping, rape and sexual battery.

In April, a violent brawl between two groups of teenagers at a London shopping center was also broadcast on Periscope.

French investigators are now awaiting the results of the initial analysis of Tuesday's broadcast.

"Once the first results of the analysis of the victim's mobile telephone and the images diffused by Periscope are known, the investigators will attempt to specify the motivations for her act, and if necessary, to enlarge the investigation," said Lallement.

es/cmk (AP, AFP)

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