Facebook Upgrades AI to Detect Suicidal Ideation and Help Prevent Suicide


On Monday, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of Facebook, announced the social media platform has upgraded its artificial intelligence to detect suicidal ideation.

“Starting today we’re upgrading our AI tools to identify when someone is expressing thoughts about suicide on Facebook so we can help get them the support they need quickly,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Facebook.

With this new technology, Facebook can scan posts, comments and live videos to determine whether or not the post’s creator is suicidal.

Facebook’s new AI works in conjunction with the platform’s suicide and self-harm reporting tools, which were released in June 2016. The support tools allow users to flag posts about suicide and self-harm, providing the person in need with relevant resources and support information. Flagged posts are also reviewed by Facebook’s community operations team, who are trained to identify suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors.

Its AI and other suicide prevention resources were developed with help from mental health organizations such as Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Forefront Suicide Prevention and those with personal experience thinking about or attempting suicide.

Within the past month, Facebook’s new AI tools have helped connect people with wellness checks from first responders more than 100 times.

“We’ve found these accelerated reports— that we have signaled require immediate attention—are escalated to local authorities twice as quickly as other reports,” Guy Rosen, vice president of product management at Facebook, said in a statement.

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The new AI will be deployed globally, with all of Facebook’s suicide prevention resources available internationally in all languages.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Screenshot via SAVE Vimeo channel

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