Facebook has unveiled new features designed to help those with suicidal tendencies following a recent trend of suicides broadcast via Facebook Live.
Facebook’s new features will allow users to report specific content that they find worrying on Facebook Live streams. The person streaming will then be notified that others are worried for their safety and will provide the streamer with a set of resources aimed at preventing suicide and depression. These resources include the option to reach out to a friend, contacting a suicide helpline, and step-by-step guidelines on working through hard times.
Speaking to TechCrunch about the new features, Facebook Researcher Jennifer Guadagno said, “Some might say we should cut off the livestream, but what we’ve learned is cutting off the stream too early could remove the opportunity for that person to receive help.” Facebook worked alongside the Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the development of these new features, this will allow those in danger to have immediate and direct contact with mental health professionals.
Facebook worked alongside the Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the development of these new features. This will allow those in danger to have immediate and direct contact with mental health professionals.
Facebook Product Manager Vanessa Callison-Burch told TechCrunch, “What we heard from various people is any extra friction in someone reaching out for support can be the thing that stops them from getting support. We’re hopeful that having this as an additional way to connect to support reduces the friction.”
This seems to be Facebook’s response to a number of suicides which have been broadcast via the Facebook Live feature. Frederick Jay Bowdy, an aspiring actor, killed himself while recording a Facebook Live video earlier this week, following his arrest on suspicion of sexual assault. Fourteen-year-old Naika Venant broadcast via Facebook Live from the bathroom of her Miami Gardens foster home fashioning a homemade noose from her scarf before the live feed ended abruptly. She was found dead later that night.
Facebook announced last December that it is developing an artificial intelligence program in order to analyze and flag offensive live streaming videos.