The social network is broadening its use of artificial intelligence to find and help people in the most distress.
A new expanded version of Facebook AI technology is rolling out to help spot suicidal posts so help can be sent more quickly. The goal is to decrease the length of time it takes to spot posts suggesting suicidal thoughts so that first responders can be alerted more quickly.
Facebook has been offering suicide prevention tools to its users for over a decade.
The social network has been working hard to help to save the lives of people using its platform. T he goal of the broadened Facebook AI technology is to give people the assistance they need before they try to take their own lives. The idea is that the faster they receive the help they need, the better their chances of preventing suicide.
In March, Facebook rolled out a number of new suicide prevention tools on its platform. At that time, it started using artificial intelligence for this purpose for the first time. This technology works to spot trends among U.S. Facebook users who appear to be showing signs of suicidal thoughts or intentions.
Now, a larger version of the Facebook AI technology is rolling out to support its users nearly worldwide.
The suicide prevention AI tech will be used for users around the globe except in the European Union. This technology is based on pattern recognition to spot both live streams and posts that appear to be indicating suicidal thoughts.
Once the tech spots a potential user in distress, it alerts Facebook’s community operations team of real, highly and specifically trained people worldwide. Those individuals have an expertise in identifying signs of self-harm and suicide, and they review the content identified by the artificial intelligence.
The Facebook AI technology is also designed to triage the identified cases. This allows the most urgent-looking cases to receive the highest priority for review by the community operations team members. The hope is to ensure that the people who are in the highest distress will receive attention – and therefore help – the most quickly. The social network’s approach to self-harm and suicide was created with the help of a number of mental health organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org, and Forefront Suicide Prevention. More recently, it has also partnered with The Trevor Project to help with suicide prevention specifically in the LGBTQ community.