David Koch under fire for #socialsuicide post
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David Koch under fire for #socialsuicide post

David Koch’s digital business, Kochie's Business Builders, has attracted criticism for the use of the hashtag #socialsuicide to promote an article on social media use.

The hashtag was used on a LinkedIn post last week linking to an article with the headline 'Social suicide: The biggest mistakes to date'.

David Koch's digital business, Kochie's Business Builders, published the post.

David Koch's digital business, Kochie's Business Builders, published the post. Credit:Nic Walker

But readers were critical of the comparison between social media use and suicide describing it as "disgusting and disgraceful".

Kochie's Business Builders removed the LinkedIn post and changed the heading of the article to 'Social slips: The biggest mistakes to date'.

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Kochie's Business Builders used the hashtag #socialsuicide in a LinkedIn post which has been removed.

Kochie's Business Builders used the hashtag #socialsuicide in a LinkedIn post which has been removed.

Using the term suicide out of context is viewed by experts as misrepresenting the issue of suicide and making it harder to engage people on the topic.

Sue Parker, founder of small business consultancy, Dare Group, said she was appalled.

"The use of of this hashtag and headline demonstrates a total lack of sensitivity around suicide and its prevention," she said. "Hashtags and headlines are critical in social media but this hashtag was socially irresponsible and totally unacceptable."

The original post on Kochie's Business Builders was headlined "Social suicide" which has been changed to "Social slips".

The original post on Kochie's Business Builders was headlined "Social suicide" which has been changed to "Social slips".

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Ina Mullin, spokesperson for Lifeline Australia, said  journalists and communications professionals should access the Mindframe National Media Initiative to promote reporting and portrayals that reduces potential harm and enhance community understanding about suicide and mental illness.

"The media has an important role to play in shaping and reinforcing social attitudes towards, and perceptions of, suicide and mental illness," she said.

David Koch told Fairfax Media because of the sensitivity expressed over the issue the "young author and social media blogger" responsible took the post down.

"It's an interesting discussion to have and to receive guidance on," he said. "The term 'social suicide' is a commonly used phrase. And the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have on numerous occasions used terms such as 'political suicide' and 'career suicide'."

Crisis support can be found at Lifeline: (13 11 14 and lifeline.org.au), the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467 and suicidecallbackservice.org.au) and beyondblue (1300 22 4636 and beyondblue.org.au)