Facebook enlists AI tech to help prevent suicide

Facebook enlists AI tech to help prevent suicide

By | March 3rd, 2017
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Facebook is now testing a system that relies on pattern recognition based

on posts previously reported for suicide risk


Facebook is now ready, to take a first and significant step in building a safer and more supportive Facebook community by significantly strengthening its own suicide prevention tools. Facebook will use artificial intelligence to identify those members contemplating suicide.

“I wrote a letter on building global community a couple weeks ago, and one of the pillars of community I discussed was keeping people safe, “Zuckerberg wrote on his personal Facebook feed .”These tools are an example of how we can help keep each other safe.”

The AI tool looks at words in the post and, especially, comments from friends — such as “Are you okay?” and “I’m here to help” that may indicate someone is struggling. This part of the system won’t auto-report those at risk to Facebook, but will instead make the options for reporting self-injury and suicide more prominent the next time that at-risk person logs in to Facebook. Facebook is also testing a pattern recognition system, that will identify posts that include suicidal thoughts. In addition and perhaps in acknowledgement of the Live.Me video tragedy, Facebook is also introducing suicide prevention tools to Facebook Live posts.

While the Facebook Live tools roll out globally today, the ability to contact real-time help through one of Facebook’s partners and all of the AI pattern recognition technology is, for now, only part of a limited test in the U.S.

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Nisheeth Bhakuni