Facebook to use AI to help in suicide prevention

On Wednesday 01 March 2017, Facebook announced it will integrate real-time suicide prevention tools into Facebook Live. It also said it will offer live-chat support from crisis support organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, and make it easier to report suicide or self-injury. The most novel of the new tools: Facebook is testing artificial intelligence to identify warning signs of self-harm and suicide in Facebook posts and comments.

With the surge in instances of people using Facebook Live to stream suicides, the social media giant is expanding the portfolio of its suicide prevention tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) and pattern recognition to help troubled users.

The new tools are similar to the ones that Facebook launched in 2015, which allowed users’ friends to flag a troubling image or status post.

Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recognised the need to detect signs of suicidal users to offer help before it was too late. The goal, says Facebook, to connect people in distress with people who can help.

“There have been terribly tragic events — like suicides, some live streamed — that perhaps could have been prevented if someone had realized what was happening and reported them sooner,”

“To prevent harm, we can build social infrastructure to help our community identify problems before they happen,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook

Facebook has partnered with organisations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Eating Disorder Association and the Crisis Text Line so when users’ posts are flagged and they opt to speak to someone, they can connect immediately via Messenger.

Facebook is lending a helping hand to those tempted to take their own lives via Facebook live. By using AI to detect signs of suicidal thoughts in posts and comments, They are also giving users the option to report a live-stream of concern.

Facebook will send a message to the reported user providing them options to speak with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Crisis Text Line and other Organisations.

It’s the next step in Facebook’s 10-year effort to prevent suicides.

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