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Artificial Intelligence to Help Facebook Prevent Suicide

Artificial Intelligence will be rolled out to make sure Facebook is in control of the content it shares.

With 1.86 billion users, Facebook has decided to take a more parental role. This development follows the circulation of a video featuring a 12 year old girl committing suicide, which Facebook powerless to prevent going viral (despite the video violating its terms and services).

Mark Zuckerburg has written a 6,000 word manifesto about the global community that he wishes to create with Facebook. In it, he makes clear that he is aware of the power that Facebook has within the world. A quote from his manifesto reads:

“The Facebook community is in a unique position to help prevent harm, assist during a crisis, or come together to rebuild afterwards. This is because of the amount of communication across our network, our ability to quickly reach people worldwide in an emergency, and the vast scale of people’s intrinsic goodness aggregated across our community.”

Facebook is aiming to significantly strengthen its suicide prevention tools by using artificial intelligence (or AI) to identify those at risk of suicide. Facebook are now testing a system that is reliant on pattern recognition in posts that have previously been reported for suicide risk.

It’ll pick up on these key words. Source.

The AI tool will look for words and phrases in posts and comments to see if someone is struggling. Key words like “are you okay?” and “I’m here to help” will trigger the AI.

Another pattern recognition system currently being tested by Facebook aims to identify posts that include suicidal thoughts. The posts that are flagged will get reviewed by Facebook’s Community Team, who will then decide if they need to send suicide prevention resources to that Facebook member.

It’s brilliant to see that Facebook is using the sizeable power it has to help at-risk members. It’s another positive step for the social media monolith, with Facebook also recently cracking down on fake news websites. It’s definitely a win for those who feel like they have no one and reach out through Facebook posts.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.