“The person in the online chat introduced himself as ‘Brad.’ Using flattery and guile, he persuaded the 14-year-old girl to send a nude photo. It instantly became leverage.
Over the following two weeks in April 2021, he and other online predators threatened to send the image to the girl’s classmates in Oklahoma unless she live-streamed degrading and violent acts … They coerced her into carving their screen names deep into her thigh, drinking from a toilet bowl and beheading a pet hamster — all as they watched in a video chatroom on the social media platform Discord. The pressure escalated until she faced one final demand: to kill herself on camera.” The Washington Post, Wired Magazine, Der Spiegel in Germany and Recorder in Romania teamed up to bring us this extremely disturbing report from one of the darkest corners of the dark web. On popular online platforms, predatory groups coerce children into self-harm. “Vulnerable teens are blackmailed into degrading and violent acts by abusers who then boast about it.”