A teen in Malaysia reportedly killed herself after posting a poll that asked her Instagram followers to help her choose life or death (FB)

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FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Instagram logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

  • A 16-year-old Malaysian girl reportedly died by suicide after sharing an Instagram poll asking her followers to help her "choose D/L," according to a report from the Guardian
  • As many as 69% of her followers voted for "D," meaning death, according to local police in Malaysia’s Padawan district.
  • Local officials have questioned whether the people who voted in the poll could be culpable in her death. Abetting the suicide of a minor is a crime in Malaysia and those found guilty can face the death penalty or up to 20 years in prison.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A 16-year-old Instagram user in Malaysia reportedly died by suicide after sharing an Instagram poll asking her followers to help her choose life or death, according to a report from the Guardian

According to local police in Mayalsia’s Padawan district, more than 69% of the girl’s followers voted for her to kill herself. The teen reportedly posted the poll to Instagram at about 3 p.m. on May 13 with a message reading, "Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L."

About five hours later, she was found dead, MalayMail reports.

Local officials have questioned whether the people who voted in the poll could be culpable in her death. Abetting the suicide of a minor is a crime in Malaysia and those found guilty can face the death penalty or up to 20 years in prison.

Ramkarpal Singh, a lawyer and member of Malaysia’s parliament, requested that authorities investigate the circumstances leading to the teen’s death.

"Would the girl still be alive today if the majority of netizens on her Instagram account discouraged her from taking her own life?" he said in a statement to Reuters. "Would she have heeded the advice of netizens to seek professional help had they done so?"

Ching Yee Wong, head of communications for Instagram APAC, provided the following statement to Business Insider in response to the 16-year-old’s death:

 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with this young woman’s family. We have a deep responsibility to make sure people using Instagram feel safe and supported. As part of our own efforts, we urge everyone to use our reporting tools and to contact emergency services if they see any behavior that puts people’s safety at risk." 

 

Instagram adopted new safety measures in February to better protect young users on the platform. Graphic images of self-harm are systematically removed, and non-graphic self-ham content is now subject to a sensitivity screen that blurs the post before it is shown.

Read more: Instagram is going to ban all graphic images of self-harm after it was blamed for the suicide of a British teenager

Instagram users found to be posting self-harm or suicide-related content are referred to a local support group or suicide hotline. For Malaysia, the social media platform refers users to Befrienders KL. Instagram provides a full list of global suicide prevention partners on its website.

Many of Instagram’s policy changes were made in response to the suicide death of Molly Russell, a British 14-year-old who died in 2017. In the months following Russell’s suicide, her family found that she had been following multiple Instagram accounts depicting images of suicide and self-harm. The discovery led her father, Ian, to claim that Instagram "helped kill my daughter."

While social media can offer teens a sense of community and personal voice, it can also impact their mental well-being. Parents are encouraged to monitor their children’s use of social media, and all social media users should feel motivated to report potentially harmful and violent posts they find, regardless of what platform they use.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is dialling up punishments for users who abuse live video after the Christchurch massacre

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Microsoft open-sources a crucial algorithm behind its Bing Search services

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Microsoft today announced that it has open-sourced a key piece of what makes its Bing search services able to quickly return search results to its users. By making this technology open, the company hopes that developers will be able to build similar experiences for their users in other domains where users search through vast data troves, including in retail, though in this age of abundant data, chances are developers will find plenty of other enterprise and consumer use cases, too.

The piece of software the company open-sourced today is a library Microsoft developed to make better use of all the data it collected and AI models it built for Bing .

“Only a few years ago, web search was simple. Users typed a few words and waded through pages of results,” the company notes in today’s announcement. “Today, those same users may instead snap a picture on a phone and drop it into a search box or use an intelligent assistant to ask a question without physically touching a device at all. They may also type a question and expect an actual reply, not a list of pages with likely answers.”

With the Space Partition Tree and Graph (SPTAG) algorithm that is at the core of the open-sourced Python library, Microsoft is able to search through billions of pieces of information in milliseconds.

Vector search itself isn’t a new idea, of course. What Microsoft has done, though, is apply this concept to working with deep learning models. First, the team takes a pre-trained model and encodes that data into vectors, where every vector represents a word or pixel. Using the new SPTAG library, it then generates a vector index. As queries come in, the deep learning model translates that text or image into a vector and the library finds the most related vectors in that index.

“With Bing search, the vectorizing effort has extended to over 150 billion pieces of data indexed by the search engine to bring improvement over traditional keyword matching,” Microsoft says. “These include single words, characters, web page snippets, full queries and other media. Once a user searches, Bing can scan the indexed vectors and deliver the best match.”

The library is now available under the MIT license and provides all of the tools to build and search these distributed vector indexes. You can find more details about how to get started with using this library — as well as application samples — here.

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Dave Smith & Dieter Doepfer at SUPERBOOTH 19

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via

@sequentialLLC

“#Superbooth19 with Dieter Doepfer!”

Two synth legends at

this year’s SUPERBOOTH

. It’s pretty amazing to think of the impact they have had in the world. Aside from creating incredible instruments, Dave brought us MIDI with Kakehashi from Roland in 1983, and Dieter brought back modular with the eurorack format in 1996. Analogue Systems worked in the same 3U format as eurorack, but with a different power system (some

history on SOS here

).

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