Facebook Is using Artificial Intelligence to Prevent Suicide

posted by Emily Lee -

Facebook is launching a new initiative in the hopes of combatting suicide amongst it's users. A devastating trend has popped up on the site over the past few months. Some Facebook users that have tragically decided to take their own lives are broadcasting their suicides live on the social media platform. This issue is sitting heavily on CEO Mark Zuckerburg's shoulders and he has decided to do something about it. “It’s hard to be running this company and feel like, okay, well, we didn’t do anything because no one reported it to us,” Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed News. “You want to go build the technology that enables the friends and people in the community to go reach out and help in examples like that.”

The new suicide prevention feature will use artificial intelligence "to identify posts indicating suicidal or harmful thoughts," according to Buzzfeed. If the AI detects any warning signs of suicidal thoughts, Facebook will then "proactively reach out to users it believes are at risk, showing them a screen with suicide-prevention resources including options to contact a helpline or reach out to a friend.

Facebook is rolling out a few other preventative features, as well. Buzzfeed reports that they will be partnering up with a number of "suicide-prevention organizations available for chats via Messenger, and it will present suicide-prevention resources to Facebook Live broadcasters who are determined to be at risk." It's obviously a very serious situation, but it's great to see that Facebook is working on becoming a helpful resource to those in need. 

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