Facebook blocks man’s planned end-of-life livestream

Facebook has blocked the live broadcast of a chronically ill man, who intended to livestream his death on the platform.

Alain Cocq had appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron for a medically-assisted death, which is currently not permitted in French law.

On Friday, the Dijon resident posted a video of himself after taking what he said would be his last liquid meal.

“I know the days ahead are going to be very difficult,” he said. “But I have taken my decision and I am serene.”

French media have reported that Cocq, a 57-year-old former plumber, suffers from a long-term and incurable degenerative illness.

Livestream blocked

Cocq had planned to livestream the end of his life, which he expects to happen over the coming days due to his decision to stop all food, liquids and medicines – except he will keep taking painkillers.

A message on his account on Saturday said Facebook had blocked him from posting videos until Tuesday.

In a statement the company said: “Our hearts go out to Alain Cocq and those who are affected by this sad situation. While we respect his decision to draw attention to this complex and difficult issue, based on the guidance of experts, we have taken steps to keep Alain from broadcasting live, as we do not allow the depiction of suicide attempts.”

Cocq then posted on Facebook to say a “retreat system” would be activated by midnight so the video would be broadcast.

He called on readers to protest against what he called Facebook’s “violation of the fundamental right” to freedom of expression.

Cocq also posted a letter this week from Macron, in which the president states French law forbids him from allowing Cocq to receive a medically-assisted death.

“With emotion, I respect your approach because it speaks to the very intimate relationship that each of us builds with the end of our life and our death,” Macron said in the letter dated Thursday, sent after one of his aides spoke at length with Cocq by telephone in August.

But Macron added that “because I am not above the law, I am not in a position to grant your request.”

In a handwritten addition at the end, Macron signed off the letter with the words, “With all of my personal support and my profound respect.”

Assisted dying is illegal throughout most of the European Union, with just four countries allowing forms of assisted dying: Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and more recently Germany.

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