Over the last year and more, there has been a disturbing trend of people live-streaming their suicides on Facebook, and considerable outcry against the social media platform for not doing anything to prevent it.
Now, I’m not much of a Facebook fan, I’ll be the first to admit. That said however, it seems unreasonable to expect them to be able to prevent this sort of thing, with over 2 billion active users.
Nonetheless, Facebook has taken it to heart, and is working on training their AI to recognise danger signs.
Software To Look For Clues To Suicidal Tendencies
Backed up by AI, Facebook is creating software that will look for clues in posts, and even in live stream videos, and then send a report to human reviewers, speeding up alerts to responders.
Facebook VP of product management, Guy Rosen, explained in a blog post that their approach was using pattern recognition technology to identify posts and live streams as being likely to be expressing thoughts of suicide.
These signs will apparently include texts by people, or comments to them, such as people asking if they are OK.
Improving Existing Tools
Facebook already has options in place that allow people to report their concerns about friends or family, but the company says that using the software as well can not only speed things up, but potentially pick up on signs that people may miss.
This tool will initially be launched outside of the US, but will eventually be in effect everywhere except i the EU, where data collection is strictly regulated by privacy laws.