Suicide of Amanda Todd
A screenshot of Todd's YouTube video
|Location||Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada|
|Inquest||British Columbia Coroners Service|
|Charges||Indecent assault and child pornography (Netherlands)|
Amanda Michelle Todd (November 27, 1996 – October 10, 2012) killed herself at the age of 15 at her home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to her death, Todd had posted a video on YouTube in which she used a series of flash cards to tell her experience of being blackmailed into exposing her breasts via webcam, and of being bullied and physically assaulted. The video went viral after her death, resulting in international media attention. The video has had more than 200 million views as of June 2016. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and British Columbia Coroners Service launched investigations into the suicide.
In response to the death, Christy Clark, the Premier of British Columbia, made an online statement of condolence and suggested a national discussion on criminalizing cyberbullying. Also, a motion was introduced in the Canadian House of Commons to propose a study of the scope of bullying in Canada, and for more funding and support for anti-bullying organizations. Todd's mother Carol established the Amanda Todd Trust, receiving donations to support anti-bullying awareness education and programs for young people with mental health problems.
Background and suicide
On September 7, 2012, Todd posted a 9-minute YouTube video entitled My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide and self-harm, which showed her using a series of flashcards to tell of her experiences being bullied. The video post went viral after her death on October 10, 2012, receiving over 1,600,000 views by October 13, 2012, with news websites from around the world linking to it.
During the video, Todd writes that when she was in grade 7 (2009/2010), around the same time she moved in with her father, she used video chat to meet new people over the Internet and she received compliments on her looks. A stranger convinced Todd to bare her breasts on camera (an exploitive phenomenon known as "capping," short for screen capturing), following one year of attempts at having her do so. The individual later blackmailed her with threats of providing the topless photo to her friends unless she gave him a "show"; she also featured briefly, albeit circumstantially, on the faux animated news show Daily Capper on BlogTV in an incident which attracted the vigilante attentions of the group Anonymous after her suicide. An episode of Daily Capper which attempted to take the moral high ground, very different in tone from their usual exploitative material, was released a month after her death.
Todd wrote that during the Christmas 2010 break, police informed her at 4:00 a.m. that the photo was circulating on the Internet. She wrote that she experienced anxiety, depression, and panic disorder due to her experiences of being sexually exploited online and being cyberbullied. Her family moved to a new home, where Todd later stated that she began using drugs and alcohol.
A year later, the individual reappeared, creating a Facebook profile which used the topless photograph as the profile image, and contacting classmates at her new school. Again Todd was teased, eventually changing schools for a second time. She wrote that she began chatting to "an old guy friend" who contacted her. The friend invited Todd to his house, where they had sex while his girlfriend was on holiday. The following week, the boy's girlfriend and a group of about 15 others confronted Todd at school, shouting insults, with the boy's girlfriend punching her; Todd fell to the ground, then lay in a ditch where her father found her. Following the attack, Todd attempted suicide by drinking bleach, but she survived after being rushed to hospital to have her stomach pumped. "It killed me inside and I thought I was gonna actully [sic] die", Todd commented in her video about drinking bleach.
After returning home, Todd discovered abusive messages about her failed suicide attempt posted to Facebook. In March 2012, her family moved to another city to start afresh, but Todd was unable to escape the past. According to her mother, "Every time she moved schools he would go undercover and become a Facebook friend. What the guy did was he went online to the kids who went to (the new school) and said that he was going to be a new student — that he was starting school the following week and that he wanted some friends and could they friend him on Facebook. He eventually gathered people's names and sent Todd's video to her new school", including students, teachers and parents. Six months later, further messages and abuse were still being posted to social networking sites. Todd's mental state worsening, she began to engage in self-mutilation — cutting. Despite taking her prescribed anti-depressants and receiving counseling, she overdosed and was hospitalized for two days.
Todd was taunted by other students at her school for her low grades, a consequence of a language-based learning disability, and for the time she spent in hospital to treat her severe depression. "It didn't really help that after she got out of the hospital recently some kids started calling her 'psycho' and saying she had been in the crazy hospital," her mother said. "She went to the hospital, she had therapy, she had counselling, she was on a good track. On the day she gets out, that happens. I shake my head and I think, 'Are kids really that nasty, do they really not think, what if it was them?'"
On October 10, 2012, at about 6:00 PM (PDT), Todd was found dead at her home. At the time of her death, Todd was a grade 10 student at CABE Secondary in Coquitlam, a school that caters to students who have experienced social and behaviour issues in previous educational settings.
Investigation and arrest
A preliminary investigation by British Columbia Coroners Service showed that Todd's death was a suicide. The cause of death was reported in some media as hanging, however the exact cause of death has not been released.
Both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and British Columbia Coroners Service launched an investigation with twenty full-time investigators working on the case. The Coquitlam and Ridge Meadows serious crime teams cooperated in a full investigation, conducting interviews and examining potential factors that may have contributed to Todd's death. Investigators are reviewing content at social media sites and are actively monitoring pages.
The Canadian national organization Cybertip.ca reported having received a tip about Todd nearly one year before her suicide. The anti-child-exploitation group stated that, in November 2011, a concerned citizen reported that images of Todd were in circulation on the Internet. That information was provided to law enforcement as well as child welfare agencies. According to the CBC news program, The Fifth Estate, the RCMP were contacted repeatedly that the juvenile was being sexually extorted by an adult male, and in response the RCMP told the family there was "nothing that could be done" about it. According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), however, the crime of "sextortion" is investigated quite successfully.
Following an investigation by Facebook's security unit, whose report was forwarded by U.S. authorities to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre attached to the British National Crime Agency, and then to Dutch authorities, in January 2014 Dutch police arrested a man in a case involving multiple victims in the Netherlands, U.K., and Canada. In April 2014, it was reported that Dutch authorities charged a 35-year-old man with dual Dutch and Turkish citizenship, identified as "Aydin C." in accordance with Dutch privacy laws, with indecent assault and child pornography. That same month, the RCMP announced that the man had been charged with extortion, internet luring, criminal harassment and the possession and distribution of child pornography for his alleged activities against Amanda Todd and other child victims, both male and female. Todd's mother thanked police, but also said that she believed more than one person was involved. On 28 January 2015, CBC News said that Aydin Coban had written an open letter proclaiming his innocence. Although some child pornography charges were dropped by Dutch authorities In October 2015,  Aydin C. still faces 72 charges of sexual assault and extortion in The Netherlands involving 39 alleged victims; if convicted and sentenced he faces five separate Canadian charges related to Amanda (not one of the 39), and it is anticipated that he would be extradited to Canada no sooner than the middle of 2018 whilst serving his Dutch sentence.
Todd's suicide received widespread international media coverage, much of which included a link to Todd's YouTube video and an e-mail address provided by the RCMP appealing for information from the public. Within twenty-four hours of the appeal, over 400 tips were received. The RCMP has stated that its investigation was hindered by the amount of false information in online postings after Todd's death, and scams claiming to raise money for her family.
On October 19, 2012, a series of vigils was held across Canada and internationally to remember Todd and other victims of bullying. A minute of silence was observed by a quarter of a million students in the Toronto District School Board district. On that same date, Todd's mother was a guest of the 2012 We Day event in Vancouver, a week after Todd's death. Bullying had been scheduled as a topic prior to Todd's death and was addressed by speakers Magic Johnson, musician and anti-bullying advocate Demi Lovato and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.
On November 18, 2012, 600 people gathered at a final farewell ceremony for Todd at Red Robinson Show Theatre in Coquitlam, near her home. Todd's mother Carol told the gathering that her daughter has left behind "a larger-than-life message that has sparked the world and has made it open its eyes, its ears and its hearts".
Internet hacking and activist group Anonymous alleged that a 32-year-old man was Todd's blackmailer and main tormentor. The group published the Vancouver-area man's name and address on the Internet, resulting in the man's receipt of online threats of vigilante justice. After investigating the tip, police determined that the allegations were unfounded, and said that "false information that is being spread by people who appear to be trying to use Amanda's story to do harm or make a profit" was one of the challenges they faced.
According to an interview with the Vancouver Sun, the publication of his identity on social media sites resulted in over fifty e-mails and "thousands" of Facebook death threats. A member of Anonymous had attempted to dissuade the group from publishing the information, saying that they had the right person, but that the address being published belonged to someone else, not the target. Slate reported that the person who was actually responsible turned out to be 19 rather than 32.
Michelle Dean of The New Yorker compared Todd's death to the suicide of Tyler Clementi. In an early piece questioning the assumptions of perpetrators of nonconsensual pornography, she quotes Mary Anne Franks:
Women have become, as Franks put it, "unwilling avatars," unable to control their own images online, and then told to put up with it for the sake of "freedom," for the good of the community. And then they are incorrectly told, even if the public is behind them, that they have no remedies in the law. They are shouted down by people with a view of freedom of speech more literal than that held by any judge.
...[But] whatever Amanda Todd might have been thinking, whatever else might be true, she did get one thing out of this: Amanda Todd did manage to, just once, tell her own story. She got to drown out the version of her that strangers had put out on the Web. It's a small comfort. But it was perhaps the only one she had left.
Vancouver Magazine entitled a piece on Amanda "The Girl Who Woke Up the World"; in 2012 she was the third-most Googled person, and by 2013 vigils had been held in 38 countries. Her mother herself continues to be the subject of cyber-stalking.
Following Todd's suicide, more than one million Facebook users "liked" her Facebook memorial page. Mingled among the positive support and comments are continuing attack posts and images from strangers and those claiming to be her former classmates. After one man's derogatory Facebook comments about Todd's death were reported to his employer, the Grafton-Fraser Mr. Big & Tall clothing chain confirmed that he was no longer an employee.
On October 19, 2012, police in New Zealand said they were questioning a 17-year-old boy from Raglan who allegedly posted "inappropriate and disturbing images" on a memorial page for Todd. Police removed the images and shut down the boy's Facebook page.
Amanda's suicide engendered the Drink Bleach Internet meme almost immediately thereafter,  and four years after her death she was associated with the 2016 movie Suicide Squad (along with Adolf Hitler, Robin Williams, and Kurt Cobain in one depiction), a meme which her mother regarded as being unhelpful to those at risk. 
Amanda Todd Legacy Society
Todd's mother Carol established the Amanda Todd Trust at the Royal Bank of Canada, receiving donations to support anti-bullying awareness education and programs for young people with mental health problems. (A week after Todd's death, ABC News reported that fraudulent websites had been set up claiming to solicit donations, quoting a statement by Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Peter Thiessen: "Taking advantage of a family's grief is despicable... We want to get the word out that there is one real account and anyone who is interested can make a donation at any RBC branch to the Amanda Todd Trust Account.") It has since incorporated as a non-profit colloquially known as Amanda Todd Legacy, with a particular outreach on the mental health issues of adolescents on occasions such as World Mental Health Day on October 10. The Amanda Todd Legacy Award was established in conjunction with the Douglas College Foundation in 2016; three students are awarded $1,000 annually towards their studies. Furthermore Amanda Todd Legacy and Carol Todd have also participated in LGBT advocacy under the aegis of Kids Help Phone, Canada's 24-hour hotline for youth in crisis.
Carol Todd is close friends with Leah Parsons, the mother of Rehtaeh Parsons, and they frequently network on cyberbullying issues. The two women often have speaking engagments about their respective daughters with an emphasis on respect, acceptance, forgiveness and dignity.
In 2012 a motion was introduced in the Canadian House of Commons by parliamentarian Dany Morin of the New Democratic Party in response to the death of Todd. The motion proposed a study of the scope of bullying in Canada, and for more funding and support for anti-bullying organizations. It was also intended to lay the groundwork for a national strategy to prevent bullying. Morin himself had experienced bullying in school.
In November 2013 Bill C-13 was introduced by Justice Minister Peter MacKay of the Conservative Party; the cyberbullying and revenge porn legislation's warrantless access provisions were criticized by Carol Todd, who remarked that “I don’t want to see our children victimized again by losing privacy rights.”  The definition of cyberbullying itself has been a matter of considerable debate, as have the privacy provisions of the bill (particularly in regards to encryption technologies). It went into effect, however, on March 9, 2015. While it had largely been promoted as protecting minors, it applies to all ages.
- Amanda Todd Legacy - Official website administered by Amanda's family
- on YouTube
- Transcript of YouTube video
- Cyber Bullying: a Prezi Amanda made about cyberbullying one month before her death
- The Sextortion of Amanda Todd. The Fifth Estate. 15 November 2013. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Amanda Todd at the Internet Movie Database
- Carol Todd's oral testimony regarding Bill C-13
- English text of Bill C-13
- Need Help Now: Resources for subjects of self/peer sexual exploitation incidents
- "Canadian teen found dead weeks after posting wrenching YouTube video detailing bullying". Fox News. October 12, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- "Amanda Todd suspect Aydin Coban writes open letter proclaiming innocence". cbc.ca. CBC News.
- Dutch man's case linked to Amanda Todd, MSN.com, 18 April 2014, Hainsworth, J., Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- Cahute, Larissa. "Amanda Todd: Hundreds hear tributes from family, friends, teachers". The province. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- "Amanda Todd celebrated in 'the birthday party she wanted'". The Tri-City News. July 14, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- "Amanda Todd tribute honours life of bullied teen". News. Calgary, CA: CBC. November 18, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
After she died, the video gained worldwide recognition and registered more than six million hits, and copies of the video re-posted to YouTube have since gained at least 16 million additional hits.
- "RCMP launch investigation into death of bullied BC teen". CTV News. CA. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- "After Amanda Todd's death, Christy Clark says new laws may be needed to combat bullying". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- on YouTube, 7 September 2012, Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "Online bullying of B.C. teen continues amid police probe | CTV News". Ctvnews.ca. October 13, 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
- Shaw, Gillian (October 20, 2012). "'She shared everything with me': Amanda Todd's mother talks about her life with her daughter". vancouversun.com. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Amanda Todd - Transcript of video, Pastebin.com, 15 October 2012, Huntley, R., Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- 2016-10-26 (Martins, Monisha). "Predators lurk behind computer screens". Maple Ridge News. Retrieved 2016-09-13. Check date values in:
- "Bullied Canadian teen leaves behind chilling YouTube video - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. October 13, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- Morris, Kevin (2012-10-19). "Inside the sick pedophile ring that blackmailed girls like Amanda Todd: Amanda Todd was just one of many kids harassed and tortured by a cadre of pedophiles and creeps who make games out of sexual abuse online.". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
- Woo, Andrea (2012-10-25). "In the darkest corners of the Internet, bullies and predators hide in plain sight". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
- McGuire, Patrick (2012-11-12). "The Suspicious Return of the Daily Capper". Vice. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
- Villalva, Brittney R. (October 14, 2012). "Amanda Todd: 15-Year-Old Tells Story of Bullying and Suicide Before Death". The Christian Post. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Gillian Shaw (October 14, 2012). "Amanda Todd's mother speaks out about her daughter, bullying (with video)". Vancouver Sun.
- Keneally, Meghan (October 12, 2012). "Tragedy as girl, 15, kills herself just one month after posting desperate YouTube plea begging bullies to stop tormenting her". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- "Port Coquitlam teen driven to death by cyberbullying (with video)". Vancouver Sun. October 12, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
- Associated Press (2012-10-12). "Canadian teen found dead weeks after posting wrenching YouTube video detailing bullying". Fox News. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- Luymes, Glenda (March 25, 2002). "Cyberbullying: Outpouring of grief over teen's suicide (with video)". The province. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- "About CABE". BC, CA: sd43. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
- Penny, Laurie (October 18, 2012). "It's too late for Amanda Todd, but we must out the cyber-bullies - Comment - Voices - The Independent". The Independent. London. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old Canadian schoolgirl hanged herself, last week, after years of unrelenting abuse by peers and online predators, one of whom persuaded her to flash her breasts and then shared the picture around the world.
- Agomuoh, Fionna (October 15, 2012). "Amanda Todd Suicide Doesn't End Cyber Torment For Ridiculed Teen". International Business Times. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
Amanda Todd of British Columbia apparently hanged herself on Oct. 10 after a grave mistake followed her for the rest of her brief life.
- Ryall, Jenni (October 17, 2012). "Anonymous outs bully they claim drove Amanda Todd to suicide, mum says leave her family alone |News.com.au". News Limited. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
Amanda Todd, from Vancouver, Canada, was found hanged in her home on October 10, weeks after she uploaded a video to YouTube that describes - via a series of note cards - her treatment at the hands of a cyber bully.
- Dufour, Katinka (October 16, 2012). "Amanda Todd case highlights issue of online bullying". telegraph.co.uk. London. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
Amanda Todd, was found hanged in her home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, last Wednesday, one month before her 16th birthday.
- "Amanda Todd was not internet obsessed, mother says". CBC News. October 23, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- "Global BC | RCMP launch full investigation into Amanda Todd's death". Globaltvbc.com. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- Amanda Todd's alleged tormentor named by hacker group - British Columbia - CBC News
- "Amanda Todd suicide: RCMP repeatedly told of blackmailer's attempts". CBC News. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- White, Patrick (2014-05-31). "On the trail of Amanda Todd's alleged tormentor". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Who is the Dutch man arrested in connection with the death of Amanda Todd?, CTV News, April 18, 2014
- "Amanda Todd case: RCMP detail 5 charges against Dutch citizen". CBC News.
- "Man charged in Netherlands in Amanda Todd suicide case". BBC. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- Kestler-D’Amours, Jillian (2015-10-27). "Netherlands drops child porn charges against man also accused in Amanda Todd case Dutch prosecutor has dropped child pornography charges that relate to accused's alleged non-Dutch victims, suspect's lawyer says.". thestar.com. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Strandberg, Diane (2015-10-27). "Extradition to proceed in Amanda Todd case: Decision by Dutch authorities to leave the Todd case out of legal proceedings not expected to affect court case here regarding Port Coquitlam teen.". Tri-City News. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Alan Waterman, Canadian Press (October 17, 2012). "Amanda Todd probe delayed by online rumours, scams". CBC.ca. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- "Bullying victims remembered in vigils worldwide:Vigils, memorials follow suicide of B.C. teen Amanda Todd last week". CBC.ca. October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- Brown, Louise (October 18, 2012). "Amanda Todd: Toronto students to remember bullied teen who committed suicide". Toronto Star. Toronto ON. p. 2. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
- James Keller, Canadian Press (October 19, 2012). "Amanda Todd's death felt at We Day event in Vancouver". The Province. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- Ferreras, Jesse. "Amanda Todd's Mother, Carol Todd, Excluded From Anti-Bullying Conference". Huffpost British Columbia. HPMG News. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- "Amanda Todd Memorial Set For Sunday". Huffpost British Columbia. HPMG News. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Amanda Todd honoured by hundreds at Coquitlam memorial service Retrieved Nov 19, 2012
- Shaw, Gillian; Sinoski, Kelly (October 17, 2012). "B.C. man denies harassing Amanda Todd; RCMP say allegations are 'unfounded'". Ottawa Citizen. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved January 27, 2013
- "Amanda Todd Investigation: Police Say Anonymous Outed the Wrong Man". inquisitr.com. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- Woo, Andrea (October 17, 2012). "'Hacktivist' group names second person in Amanda Todd case". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- Dean, Michelle (2012). "The Story of Amanda Todd". newyorker.com. The New Yorker.
- "The Girl Who Woke Up The World: Amanda Todd". Vancouver Magazine. 2016-10-01. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Hewlett, Jason (January 3, 2013). "Amanda Todd video put spotlight on bullying". kamloopsnews.ca. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- "Ontario man loses job after writing cruel Facebook comment about Amanda Todd". National Post Wire Services. Oct 17, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Toronto man fired after 'trolling' Amanda Todd Facebook page". Ottawa Citizen. October 16, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Police question New Zealand teen over Amanda Todd images". BNO News. October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
- Garossino, Sandy (2013-08-08). "Time to rip the mask of anonymity off online trolls". Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 2016-09-16.
- Burgmann, Tamsyn (2016-08-08). "Internet meme for Suicide Squad film ridicules Amanda Todd's death, mom says: Carol Todd says she has shared the images to build awareness and discussion". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2016-09-16.
- Shaw, Gillian. "Mother wants Amanda Todd's video to help others". Calgaryherald.com. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
- "Bullied Teen's Death Spurs Fake Sites". ABC News. October 18, 2012.
- "Carol Todd wants you to #LightUpPurple for World Mental Health Day". Kids Help Phone. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- Strandberg, Diane (2016-10-26). "New Amanda Todd award for DC students: $1,000 award will be given to students enrolled in child and youth care program in recognition of Port Coquitlam teen and mental health issues". Tri-City News. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- Langley, Alison (2015-07-17). "Everyone Can Made A Difference". Niagra Falls Review. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- Taber, Jane (2014-04-12). "Forged in sadness, grieving mothers find friendship". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- CTVNews.ca Staff (October 14, 2012). "In wake of Amanda Todd suicide, MPs to debate anti-bullying motion". CTV News. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
- Boutilier, Alex (2014-04-13). "Amanda Todd's mother raises concerns about cyberbullying bill: Families of cyberbullying victims want legislation, but some have concerns about warrantless access to Canadians personal data.". www.thestar.com. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Todd, Carol (2014-05-14). "Carol Todd's Testimony regarding Bill C-13". www.openparliament.ca. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Quigley, Joseph (2016-02-29). "Cyberbullying creating difficult questions for legal system: Victims' advocates calling for new cyberbullying laws, but pinning down broad term difficult". CBCNEWS. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Powers, Lucas (2016-02-19). "Apple's encryption battle with the FBI could spill into Canada: U.S. legal fight will be closely watched north of the border". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Puzic, Sonja (2015-03-09). "Anti-cyberbullying law, Bill C-13, now in effect". ctvnews.ca/. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Montgomery, Mark (2016-04-30). "Canada's cyberbullying and revenge porn law applies to adults too". Radio Canada International. Retrieved 2016-09-12.