Facebook has been exploring suicide prevention for more than a decade. Now it has come up with an engineering solution- an AI-based effort aimed to aid the people who might be suicidal. Currently, Facebook is using AI-based algorithms to inspect and identify posts,
videos, and Facebook live streams for patterns of suicidal thoughts. This would also help in prioritizing cases to be addressed by the compassion team, who would send mental health resources to the person or their close friends or would contact local first responders.
Facebook has around 80 local partners like Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Forefront who would provide resources to the users who are at risk or even their close connection.
The Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier wrote that “There have been terribly tragic events like suicides, some live-streamed — that per se could have been prevented if someone had realized what was happening and reported them sooner. Artificial intelligence can help provide a better approach.” Considering this, Facebook has also extended this service by allowing people to report images, posts, and videos as potential self-harm content. Such flagged posts will also undergo the same process and immediate support would be provided to the users at risk.
Creating such a global communication platform with more than 2 billion users, it’s commendable that Facebook is taking such an initiative to help connect people who are in distress to their close connections and organizations that can help them. This makes Facebook unique. This is also a positive step for mental health organizations especially because mental health is of utmost concern in today’s day and age.
- Novet, Jordan (2018). Facebook is using A.I. to help predict when users may be suicidal. CNBC News. Retrieved from: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/21/how-facebook-uses-ai-for-suicide-prevention.html
- Forefront Suicide Prevention (2017). Forefront Suicide Prevention among partners shaping Facebook’s global suicide prevention AI upgrade. The University of Washington. Retrieved from: http://intheforefront.org/news/feature-articles/forefront-suicide-prevention-among-partners-shaping-facebooks-global-suicide-prevention-ai-upgrade/