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Facebook's Suicide Prevention Tools Can Spot Suicidals

By Donna Bellevue , Mar 03, 2017 12:28 AM EST
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Facebook is adding more suicide prevention tools on its live-stream video this month. The move has been decided after a series of suicide incidents took place on live video. Included in the new self-harm prevention tools are options for people to report if someone might harm themselves while broadcasting on Facebook Live.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook have said that he created the popular social media platform to help people connect to each other. On Wednesday, the company stated its modified stand about helping people in distress through personal connection, such as preventing the suicide of someone on Facebook. The company have also said that it's in a "unique position" to help those who have mental health issues.

So now, people watching a Facebook Live broadcast will be able use the suicide prevention tools by reporting the video. Facebook can reach out to emergency workers if the person is in imminent danger. Additionally, the person live-streaming will also be provided a set of resources pop up on their phone screen, so they can contact a friend or a helpline, the ABC News reports.

Facebook offers these options by using algorithms, trained to report data from the network’s two billion users. The artificial intelligence is constantly on the lookout for warning signs in content that users post, as well as replies that are received. Once a red flag is raised, a Facebook team is alerted and can contact the user so that help may be offered, the Forbes reports.

Facebook's suicide prevention team is connected with charities and helplines to develop methods for putting those at risk instantly in contact with an advisor. The social network began monitoring suicidal behavior a decade ago. However, this marks the first involvement of AI (or machine learning) in the process since it has previously only relied on its user base in flagging up potentially dangerous situations.

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