Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2023). 44(4), 292-299. DOI: SIEC No: 20231846

Background: The content of suicide-specific social media posts may impact suicide rates, and putatively harmful and/or protective content may vary by the author’s influence. Aims: This study sought to characterize how suicide-related Twitter content differs according to user influence. Method: Suicide-related tweets from July 1, 2015, to June 1, 2016, geolocated to Toronto, Canada, were collected and randomly selected for coding (n = 2,250) across low, medium, or high user influence levels (based on the number of followers, tweets, retweets, and posting frequency). Logistic regression was used to identify differences by user influence for various content variables. Results: Low- and medium-influence users typically tweeted about personal experiences with suicide and associations with mental health and shared morbid humor/flippant tweets. High-influence users tended to tweet about suicide clusters, suicide in youth, older adults, indigenous people, suicide attempts, and specific methods. Tweets across influence levels predominantly focused on suicide deaths, and few described suicidal ideation or included helpful content. Limitations: Social media data were from a single location and epoch. Conclusion: This study demonstrated more problematic content vis-à-vis safe suicide messaging in tweets by high-influence users and a paucity of protective content across all users. These results highlight the need for further research and potential intervention.