Facebook has announced that it will use artificial intelligence to intensify its efforts in recognizing the users’ profile potentially at risk for suicide.
According to the World Health Organization, there is death by suicide every 40 seconds and every year suicide kills more than 800,000 people.
Facebook is in a unique position – through friendships on the site – to connect a person in trouble with people that can support. The new Facebook ad itself focused in particular on the Live service, launched in April last year, which allows users to share live video with friends and followers. In January, a 14-year-old Miami took her own life and has broadcast the suicide live on the platform.
The means of prevention, already made available for years by Facebook, will now be integrated into the Live service. Users who are watching a live video can immediately make contact with the person who transmits the video and reports to the company.
The person who is sharing a live video will see on the screen a set of resources and can choose to get in touch with a friend or support an association. Facebook will also provide resources for people who report videos to help support their friend.
Users also have the chance to get in touch with organizations that offer support, but currently, the service is only available in the United States.
Facebook began testing a recognition technology models to identify messages that are potentially referring to thoughts of suicide.
The Facebook initiative is commendable, but it will take the time to develop a tool that knows how to distinguish the true state of discomfort of a person from phrases used in a conversational tone, but that does not correspond to a real purpose of self-harm.