A 15-year-old boy has reportedly taken his own life after being bullied and harassed by a popular social media app for teenagers.
According to the Telegraph, George Hessay, from Yorkshire, UK, had been using the Sayat.me, a website and app that is a forum for users to give anonymous feedback about one another. It appears to have been originally designed as a business tool, but the Telegraph reports that many of its 30 million users are believed to be teenagers.
The New York Post reports that Hessay was found dead by hanging on May 10. It is unclear exactly what was said on the app about Hessay, who by all available accounts had been a well-liked and thriving teenager.
“He really didn’t deserve what happened to him,” Hessay’s friend Joely Baxter reportedly wrote in a Facebook tribute to the 15-year-old, who she described as “such a nice boy who cared about everyone and made sure everyone was OK.”
“… I think that whoever wrote things about him on that stupidthing should be ashamed and grow some b***s and own up to it because whoever did it was sick in the head.”
Hessay was a student and member of the football team at Snaith School. A representative from the team told the Telegraph that Hessay was “a great team player.”
According to a Change.org petition launched in an effort to have Sayat.me shut down, the online platform is responsible for more death’s than just Hessay’s:
In our comment section there are numerous people from all over the UK who have signed because a person took their own life, because of cyberbullying on the site. My heart honestly goes out to anyone affected by suicide; we need to shut down Sayat.me and protect children from vulnerability and harm.
According to the New York Post, the CEO of Sayat.me told the Telegraph last week it had taken the site down, but apparently for only a few days before it was back up by the end of the week.
In a statement, the CEO said, “We have been made aware by police that they are investigating a bullying related suicide and we offer our sincere condolences to those affected by this loss. We deplore bullying of any kind and want it to have no place on our site. We will offer any assistance we can to the police.”