Facebook Can Now Recognize Suicidal Thoughts

Facebook announced Monday that it has significantly improved its suicide prevention tool with artificial intelligence.

Technology is now able to recognize actions associated with suicidal thoughts by itself in order to offer help to the person before a loved one makes a report.

The company had announced a first effort earlier this year, but so far, the tool needed a user or friend’s report to recognize a need for help. Facebook now claims to be able to recognize certain behaviors in order to provide resources in real time.

For example, if the feature recognizes a live broadcast that is at risk of containing thoughts or suicidal actions, this publication will be immediately relayed to a team of experts who can contact the authorities.

A help message is sent to the user with links to resources (a hotline, a list of tips, or an invitation to write or talk to a friend).

Technology is able to recognize these behaviors by analyzing certain signals like the comments of other users. If the tool recognizes phrases like “are you okay?” Or “how can I help you?”, Artificial intelligence will identify video as at risk.

Facebook also announced that it was improving its team of experts and using its artificial intelligence to identify the most urgent reports. This tool and its latest improvements will be used around the world, except in Europe.

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About the Author: Jane Taylor

Jane is a 25-year-old from Halifax Nova Scotia that loves to share her passion for health with others. Apart from running her own YouTube Channel (thetech2020), which uploads weekly videos that cover ground-breaking new technology, she spends her time developing enterprise software. She recently spent her summer working at BlackBerry as a software engineer, and will be returning this summer. In regards to academics, Jane studies Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Guelph University and in her free time, she loves to watch hockey, read, and hang out with friends.

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