Facebook on Saturday blocked the showing of the final moments of euthanasia activist Alain Cocq, who is terminally ill and wanted to stream his last moments live on social media.
The man had announced on Friday night in a video that he had stopped taking all medicine, food and drink and would have his dying moments live-streamed to denounce the current rules on euthanasia in France.
“Although we respect his decision to draw attention to this complex question, following expert advice we have taken measures to prevent the live broadcast on Alain’s account, since our rules do not allow us to show suicide attempts,” a spokesman for Facebook told French news agency AFP.
A few hours later, just as he was about to post another video, he announced that “Facebook is blocking my video broadcast until the 8th of September.”
“It’s now up to you,” the 57-year-old Cocq wrote to his supporters, giving them the address of Facebook France in Paris “so you can let them know what you think of their methods of restricting free speech.”
“There will be a back-up system within 24 hours” to stream the video, he promised.
Facebook has detailed rules which, though not including specific provisions regarding death, are very strict on content that can be seen as promoting suicide or self-mutilation, categories that include euthanasia or assisted suicide.
Many Internet users expressed support for the euthanasia activist. “The Cocq Law will come, I’m sure of that,” wrote one supporter, convinced that his action will lead to changes to the 2016 Claeys-Léonetti Law that authorises deep sedation but only for people in the final stage of life.