Cyberbullying suicide: Italy shocked by Amnesia Ask.fm case

A mobile phone (generic image)

Related Stories

MPs in Italy have called for action against cyberbullying after a girl of 14, subjected to online abuse, killed herself in a north-eastern town.

Calling herself Amnesia, she had gone on the social network Ask.fm seeking sympathy after breaking up with a boyfriend, Italian media report.

"Kill yourself", "Nobody wants you" and "You are not normal" were some of the anonymous replies she received.

She jumped to her death from a high-rise building on Sunday.

It is still unclear which factors chiefly drove her to take her life. Prosecutors in Padua have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.

For some time she had been posting messages that suggested she might be suicidal. She appeared to have stopped posting about a week before she died.

Start Quote

Where do I see myself living five years from now?" she wrote in one entry. "Me living five years from now? Wow”

End Quote Amnesia Online reply quoted by Il Mattino di Padova

The girl, whose real name was given as Nadia by Italian daily Il Mattino di Padova, left messages for her family in the town of Fontaniva, near Padua, but they were unable to reach her in time.

Micaela Campana, an MP for the Democratic Party in the country's coalition government, said: "We can no longer read about young people who take their lives because of threats and psychological pressure."

There have been calls in Italy to shut down Ask.fm, which was sharply criticised for its policy of allowing users to post comment anonymously after previous bullying-related deaths in the UK and US.

Ask.fm spokesperson Liva Biseniece told the BBC News website: "We intend to co-operate fully with the Italian authorities regarding this tragic case.

"We note that suicide cases of young people are always a very complex overlap of social, economic and emotional aspects. We urge the media to provide space and time to establish what prompted this terrible event."

Thousand questions

In recent months, Nadia replied 1,148 times to questions online, Il Mattino di Padova reports.

It found a stream of insults and obscenities directed at the girl.

"Where do I see myself living five years from now?" she wrote in one entry. "Me living five years from now? Wow."

At one point, Nadia posted photos of cuts she said she had made to her arms.

It appears she planned her death carefully, leaving five letters to family and friends.

Stronger laws

Start Quote

Let's close this damn Ask”

End Quote Marcello Mezzasalma Mayor of Fontaniva

On news of Nadia's death, her mother was treated in hospital for shock, Il Mattino di Padova reports.

"My daughter was only 14 years old and hadn't done anything," the girl's father was quoted as saying.

The mayor of Fontaniva, Marcello Mezzasalma, said Nadia's father had confided in him that he had secretly checked his daughter's mobile phone and diary, but had not noticed anything amiss.

The mayor said he had decided against declaring a day of mourning so as to avoid "creating an even bigger clamour".

Blaming the social network, Mr Mezzasalma said: "Let's close this damn Ask."

He added that he was in contact with Italian MEP Mara Bizzotto, a member of the opposition Northern League party, who has asked the European Commission for stronger EU legislation on internet abuse.

Ask.fm pledged to take action last year after online bullying cases made headlines.

"We urge our members to use the reporting, blocking and deleting options available to them," Ms Biseniece said on Wednesday.

Ms Campana, who has already proposed a bill to increase the punishment for online abuse, said parliament must urgently debate a bill on bullying and cyberbullying.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a writer accused of blasphemy must run


  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • Irvine WelshDeaf ears

    Five famous Scots who can't vote in the Scottish referendum


  • Electric chairReturn of 'the chair'

    Five people talk about their roles in Tennessee's execution debate


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Canada.Hidden rail trip

    Canada's tiny, two-car shuttle is a train lover's dream with scenic views

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.