Netflix show caused increase in teen suicide rate?


9 Co-Authors in the original paper "Association Between the Release of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and Suicide Rates in the United States: An Interrupted Times Series Analysis"

Paper here

Translation: "That paper claiming a Netflix show caused an increase in teen suicide is almost certainly a blazing pile of shit."

  1. They literally have no theory explaining what is supposedly happening (is it new suicides or just inter-temporal displacement?), and they have zero data on viewership.

  2. They literally just counted the months that suicides went up, even when there is half a year between them and no logical basis for attributing the increases in June and December to the TV show released in April. They expand or contract the treatment period based on what's convenient to show an effect -- for instance, they decided to count an increase in March (before the show was released) because the trailer came out then. So now they tack on the hypothesis that pre-release publicity causes suicide too. Voila, ~science~.

  3. They claim that their results only apply to teen boys, even though the show is about a teen girl. There's no theoretical basis for that and it wasn't their pre-publication hypothesis -- they're just p-hacking the data to find a group, age, sex, and month where a "statistically significant" change appears.

  4. They ignore the fact that similar jumps are scattered throughout the earlier years' data, and it looks like they can really only explain why we should attribute this change to the TV show is with a special pleading ("maybe something else happened back then too").

  5. Ah, here we have it, in their conclusion: “There is no discernible public health benefit associated with viewing the series.” Uh, okay. How dare people do anything that doesn't benefit public health? Publishing shitty, p-hacked, scare-mongering studies that falsely accuse filmmakers of driving 195 kids to kill themselves doesn't benefit public health either, and yet here you are.

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