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Top 10 Terrible Deaths Connected To Social Media

by Arnaldo Filho
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Social media is incredibly divisive. Most people agree that it’s marvelous at connecting us, but there is a strong movement toward reducing the time we spend online. (The coronavirus quarantines and social distancing guidelines are an exception, of course.)

The Internet can definitely have an unfavorable impact on some aspects of our lives, making us unhappy occasionally. However, the negative repercussions of social media can also be grave enough to be linked to fatalities.

We understand that you visit Listverse to escape and relax, but these stories are cautionary tales of 10 deaths directly linked to social medial and the Internet.

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10 Influencer’s Birthday Pool Party Drownings

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Earlier this year, the death of three Russians at a birthday pool party was announced on Instagram, creating a frenzy on the Internet. The beginning of the story does not sound that unusual—until you realize that about 25 kilograms (55 lb) of dry ice were dumped into the pool.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Yekaterina Didenko, the birthday girl and influencer, tearfully recounted the devastating event to her over one million followers. Russian news media and some bloggers criticized her for trying to capitalize on it.

At the party, several people were choking and passing out after jumping into the pool containing dry ice. Despite its name, dry ice is actually solid carbon dioxide (the gas we exhale when we breathe out) that is frozen at a temperature of -78 degrees Celsius (-109 °F).

As dry ice doesn’t melt—it goes from solid to gaseous at room temperature—people use it for party tricks and cool effects. This process, called “sublimation,” gives CO2 its “smoky” qualities.

When dry ice melts in confined spaces, it turns into carbon dioxide gas, a potentially harmful substance. Carbon dioxide can cause breathing difficulties and asphyxiation, which was the reason for the party guests’ deaths.[1]

9 Choking Challenge
The Internet’s Most Dangerous Craze

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The “choking game” (aka “fainting game”) is the act of intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain, causing the person to pass out. Children and teenagers take the challenge mostly due to curiosity (allegedly, it induces euphoria) and peer pressure.

This incredibly dangerous and irresponsible activity has been around since long before the Internet existed. (In fact, the first death was reported in 1995.) Even though the Internet cannot be blamed for the creation of the choking game, it can be credited for its resurgence.

Social media viral challenges are a huge deal for young people. Usually, when a teenager sees someone his age doing something thrilling on the Internet, he´ll try to replicate it. That’s the purpose of these challenges, which range from the ridiculous to the horrifying.

The choking game has made several comebacks over the years due to social media challenges. In 2006, a year after YouTube was created, 35 deaths were caused by the choking game. In 2019, teenager Mason Bogard died while attempting the challenge.[2]

8 Deadliest Selfies Part I
Model Falls Off A Cliff

Photo credit: BBC

People will do anything for a selfie. If you don’t believe that, just do a quick search on “selfie-related deaths.” Madalyn Davis was not the first and won’t be the last casualty caused by the search for a great picture.

Davis, a makeup artist and social media influencer, was an expert in eyelash styling and had thousands of followers across different platforms. She was vacationing in Australia when the tragedy occurred.

Davis fell off a cliff in Diamond Bay Reserve in Sydney while trying to take a risky photo. Police and paramedics launched an air and water search with the assistance of the Marine Area Command. Unfortunately, the body of the British model was found in the water about four hours later. She had died on impact from head injuries.[3]

7 Facebook Unfriending Culminates In A Double Homicide

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Have you ever been “unfriended” on Facebook?

It’s not a nice feeling. But normal people get over it in a couple of hours. Thirty-one-year-old Jenelle Potter did not have a typical reaction. Instead, she decided that murder was the sensible response.

This story deserves a list of its own as it involves jealousy, the CIA, and a double homicide. Here’s the short version: After allegedly being cyberbullied by a couple of her former friends, Jenelle convinced her parents to shoot them.

The crime happened in 2012. Janelle’s father claimed that he acted according to his own impulses. However, the prosecutor of the case believed that Jenelle had manipulated her parents with a catfishing scheme.

Allegedly, Jenelle used social media to deceive her parents into killing her former friends. She created a fake profile of a CIA agent. The “agent” sent messages saying that Jenelle’s life was in danger.[4]

6 Woman Lynched By A Mob In Brazil Over An Internet Rumor

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Spreading rumors is a nasty thing to do. Although the practice was not invented online, it has certainly been exacerbated by the Internet. In the old days, the impact of a rumor was limited to small groups of people. Usually, the worst-case scenario was getting a raunchy reputation in your school. However, rumors gain a whole new dimension with the Internet’s reach and propensity to distort reality.

In 2014, Fabiane Maria de Jesus, a mother of two, was identified by a local Facebook page as a criminal accused of kidnapping children and sacrificing them in satanic rituals. The origin of the misunderstanding was supposedly a police sketch that vaguely resembled a picture of her.

The Brazilian woman was dragged through the streets by a mob of people and beaten to death. When six of the miscreants were arrested, a protest broke out at the police station. People screamed, “Do you want to arrest everybody? It’s everybody’s fault! It’s nobody’s fault! It’s the Internet’s fault!”[5]

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5 Teenager Is Cyberbullied Until He Commits Suicide

The earliest deaths attributed to the Internet are related to cyberbullying-induced suicide, which is made much worse by social media. As a society, we now take bullying more seriously due to the long-lasting effects on the victims.

It can be difficult to put an end to bullying in schools, but it is even harder to stop it on the Internet. One of the most notorious cases is the suicide of 13-year-old Ryan Halligan. He was relentlessly cyberbullied by other kids on Myspace due to a rumor that he was gay.

At one point, a girl pretended to like him, only to later publicly humiliate the boy for believing in her affection. Ryan told her: “It is girls like you that make me want to kill myself.”

Ryan hanged himself in 2003. His lifeless body was found by his sister.[6]

4 Deadliest Selfies Part II
Mauled By A Bear

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In another selfie-related incident, a man was killed by a bear in India while trying to take a picture with the animal. After attending a wedding, Prabhu Bhatara was driving back to his house when he decided to stop to urinate in the woods. While doing so, he spotted an injured bear, which prompted him to attempt to take the selfie of the year.

As Prabhu approached the animal, the bear attacked and a struggle ensued. A stray dog at the site intervened but failed to deter the bear. The whole ordeal was filmed by a bystander, and clips of the horrific incident can be found on the Internet.[7]

India’s wildlife often clashes with people in the suburban areas of the country. To no one’s surprise, that was the third fatality linked to selfies with wild animals in that region in a year.

3 YouTuber Dies In A Paragliding Accident While Filming A YouTube Video

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Having a YouTube channel drives you to do crazy things to get views.

On “The King of Random” channel, Grant Thompson used to showcase DIY projects and experiments, but outdoor activities were also featured. Unfortunately, the influencer passed away in 2019. He was found dead near Sand Hollow State Park, Utah.

Along with his body, paragliding equipment and a recording device were recovered. This suggested that he died while attempting to film a video for his popular YouTube channel.[8]

2 Woman Strangled By Her Tinder Date In A Rough Sex Session

Photo credit: The Guardian

Tinder is probably the first name that pops into your mind when you think of online dating. The platform is so successful that even nonusers understand what the terms “swipe left” and “swipe right” mean.

Dating in the social media era can make you feel safer. You don’t meet people face-to-face right away, and you can get a friend to track your position through GPS. However, this extra sense of security can lead you to ignore basic instincts and bypass self-preservation precautions.

Women are especially vulnerable to predatory behavior. The death of 22-year-old Grace Millane serves as an example of how we can never be too safe while meeting people we don’t know.

While the British woman was backpacking in New Zealand, she agreed to go on a date with a man she met on Tinder. The date went from promising to tragic when she was strangled during a rough sex session.

The man, not identified for legal reasons, hid her remains in a suitcase. Then he went on another date with another woman.[9]

1 Lips To Die For:
The Kylie Jenner Challenge

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Kylie Jenner is a media personality who stars in the reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Her estimated net worth is US$1 billion, making her the youngest billionaire at 21. She is known for her ravishing beauty, of which the most coveted aspect is definitely her plump lips.

The desire to have Kylie’s pouty lips inspired the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge. Teenagers inserted their lips into shot glasses and sucked out the air to create a vacuum. The aim was to swell the lips. The problem is that the act itself is dangerous due to the injuries sustained to the face.

In 2015, a story circulated online that Natalie Cardenas, 19, was found dead on her bedroom floor with “huge lips” and a shot glass in her hands. According to the fictional account, the tragedy prompted the authorities to declare the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge illegal in the United States. Although no credible source confirms that story, it’s a good idea to skip the challenge as it can cause real and possibly lasting injuries.[10]

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About The Author: Arnaldo is a Brazilian with a PhD in quantum chemistry who is living in the UK. He is a fanatic about science, beer, and the Internet.

fact checked by Jamie Frater