Facebook’s New Tool to Help You Prevent Your Friends from Committing Suicide

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By Michaela Whitton at theantimedia.org

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United Kingdom — Over one billion people are active daily on Facebook, and as a result, the social networking giant is continually updating its products and services. The most recent attempt to expand resources available to users was rolled out last week in the U.K., with a feature that aims to reduce suicides.

Facebook Stats
— 1.04 billion daily active users on average in December 2015
— 934 million mobile daily active users on average in December 2015
— 1.59 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2015
— 1.44 billion mobile monthly active users as of December 31, 2015
— Approximately 83.6% daily active users are outside the U.S. and Canada

We are more open and connected to others online than ever before. By now, many of us have stumbled across troubling posts by friends that leave us unsure as to how to respond, if at all. Maybe it is someone we don’t feel we know well enough to intervene, or perhaps we debate whether to send a private message but simply ignore the cry for help and scroll past. Well, Facebook has taken the dilemma out of our hands.

Hoping to help reduce suicides, the social media platform’s new tool offers assistance to those who may be at risk of harming themselves. Launched last year in the U.S. and Australia, the opportunity to report suicidal content on Facebook has now been launched in the U.K.

Built in partnership with the Samaritans, the tool has been developed to encourage users to help friends they feel may be at risk, as well as offer support for friends and family. While Facebook encourages people to contact emergency services first if they are worried about friends, the tool is intended to flag posts with troubling content.

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Suicidal posts will be prioritised by a round-the-clock team, and when friends flag a post they are concerned about, staff will assess the best way to proceed.

The next time the user logs into their account, they will receive a message saying “a friend thinks you might be going through something difficult and asked us to look at your recent post.” Those who Facebook feels are struggling to cope will then be offered options for support. As with most resources on the social networking site, the support options can be ignored, should the person wish.

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said:

“If people can start to talk about the unbearable pain that they’re facing, we can interrupt that journey towards suicide. Suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable. This tool plays a really vital role in achieving that.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article and need to talk to someone, visit samaritans.org or call 08457 90 90 90.


This article (Facebook’s New Tool to Help You Prevent Your Friends from Committing Suicide) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whittonand theAntiMedia.orgAnti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email[email protected].

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3 COMMENTS

  1. This is a wonderful new tool that Facebook is adding to the fight for suicide prevention. I would, however, suggest that you change your headline. NAMI has long promoted the term, “died by suicide”, in place of the other phrase. It is now a widely accepted termanology. The word, “commit”, has many meanings, some derogatory. It is now a part of my life’s work to end the stigma surrounding suicide, and teach when I can. My twin sons did not, “commit”, anything. They died from a horrible illness that ended with suicide.

  2. When you call 911 to prevent someone from “killing” themselves or to do a welfare check on someone merely having a simple PANIC ATTACK, they arrest you immediately and throw you in a mental ward. If you RAPE someone, the state pays for your incarceration. If you threaten your own life, YOU have to pay nearly $1000/day for your own involuntary incarceration for up to 2 weeks. They drug you and brainwash you. And before you get a room in the ward, you have to stay on a hard cot with no pillow or blankets for up to 2 days- lights always on and a camera in every corner staring at you. I had a dog when it happened and he sat inside for almost a day without food or water or a walk outside before I could make a call to a friend that could watch him, but not before a lengthy ordeal involving threats with calling the SPCA and taking my dog away to a kill “shelter”.
    You wanna know why suicide is illegal?
    whether you’re earning money and paying taxes and buying shit, or whether you’re on welfare and receiving other people’s tax money to likewise spend on shit, you’re still spending money on shit. we’re all slaves, indentured servants for life. The Oligarchy that controls this world doesn’t want it’s most precious American HERD to CULL itself. The ONLY course of action is to contact that person YOURSELF and smoke afucking bowl with them and tell them to chillax. that’s it. 99% of the time it’s just a fucking call for attention, help, or an anxiety attack or a nervous breakdown.

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