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Publication du membre du CRISE

Mrch, C.M., Ct, L.P., Corthsy-Blondin, L., Plourde-Lveill, L., Dargis, L., Mishara, B.L. (2018). The Darknet and Suicide. Journal of Affective Disorders (e-pub. first). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2018.08.028

Context The Internet contains both public content (Surface Web), and private content (Deep Web) sometimes hosted on exclusive networks (Darknets) only accessible using dedicated software such as TOR (The Onion Router). This software makes it almost impossible to identify its users. Information media have reported on suicide-related aspects of Darknets, for example when poisons that can be used to kill oneself are offered for sale (Le Garff, 2016)when users discuss ways to kill oneself in anonymous forums (Ferrara, 2016; Firewall, 2015) and suicides that follow bullying or doxing (online divulgation without consent of intimate personal information) (Bartlett, 2014). Several recent studies have analyzed the nature of suicide content on the Surface Web, but to date, there have been no systematic investigations of suicidal content available on Darknets. Objectives The object was to document the nature and accessibility of suicide-related information available on the TOR Darknet or via the TOR software. Methods We replicated the methodology used by Biddle et al. (2008; 2016) in their studies of the Surface Web, using TOR on the Darknet. We identified and chose nine search engines used on the TOR Darknet: TORCH the TOR search engine, Notevil, Ahmia, Candle, Hidden Wiki, Darknet (onion.link), Duckduckgo and Grams. Two research assistants independently coded the first 30 results of searches using the keywords, suicide and suicide methods. Results There were 476 hits in the search for suicide and suicide method using TOR, with fewer sites dedicated to suicide (4%), compared to the Surface Web (23.1%) (Biddle et al., 2016). Over half of the sites proposed by the TOR search engines (252, 52.9%) were outdated, inaccessible or not containing content pertinent to suicide or suicide methods. Several of the TOR search engines provided access to forums (chat boards) where suicide was a topic (70, 14.8%). These were usually pro-suicide, are blocked or filtered by most of the Surface Web engines (e.g. Google). Discussion Persons concerned with suicide prevention should conduct further investigations of pro-suicide forums that are accessible using TOR and their users, comparing them with the Surface Web. New strategies to prevent suicide may need to be developed for Darknets.


Mise à jour : 8/10/2018

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