It has the trappings of popular social media, a young audience and explicit content on suicide that other sites don’t allow. It is linked to a long line of lives cut short.
As Matthew van Antwerpen, a 17-year-old in suburban Dallas, struggled with remote schooling during the pandemic last year, he grew increasingly despondent. Searching online, he found a website about suicide.
“Any enjoyment or progress I make in my life simply comes across as forced,” he wrote on the site after signing up. “I know it is all just a distraction to blow time until the end.”
Roberta Barbos, a 22-year-old student at the University of Glasgow, first posted after a breakup, writing that she was “unbearably lonely.” Shawn Shatto, 25, described feeling miserable at her warehouse job in Pennsylvania. And Daniel Dal Canto, a 16-year-old in Salt Lake City, shared his fears that an undiagnosed stomach ailment might never get better.
Soon after joining, each of them was dead.
Most suicide websites are about prevention. This one — started in March 2018 by two shadowy figures calling themselves Marquis and Serge — provides explicit directions on how to die.
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