Facebook launch AI to help vulnerable users

Tabitha Dunn
March 3, 2017

If the AI spots a post with suicidal content, it will flag the post and make reporting options for it more prominent for other users.

Previously users would receive an auto-generated email if a post was reported, with a response taking hours or days. Also, the US-based company is testing a new artificial intelligence based streamlined reporting process.

These AI-powered tests are kicking off in the USA now, and there's no word yet on whether it will be rolled out permanently or further afield - it's all about testing the water to see what works and what doesn't.

When the AI notes a person may be at risk, it alerts a team of humans at Facebook who are then tasked with reaching out to the users who may be at risk of self harm.

The company said on Wednesday that the updated tools would give an option to users watching a live video to reach out to the person directly and report the video to Facebook.

Mental health charity Mind says the principle behind the new tools is a good idea.

"Suicide prevention is one way we're working to build a safer community on Facebook", the company said.

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On Messenger, Facebook says it has added the ability for people to connect with the network's crisis support partners - including Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - over the messaging service.

Facebook has unveiled AI designed to identify individuals at risk of committing suicide, creating algorithms with the intention of spotting "warning signs" that may be evident in posts or comments from users.

Need a listening ear? .

Pattern-recognition algorithms have been developed to recognize the behavior by learning through training them with previous posts that were flagged.

Facebook already offers a number of suicide prevention tools, such as allowing users to report concerning posts.

What this means is that if you see someone posting a status which is cause for concern, you can either reach out to them directly, or report the post to Facebook.

Facebook has featured suicide prevention tools for 10 years, but the new Live platform has presented a new set of issues to tackle. For now in the US, when alarming posts are identified by Facebook's software, the company's Community Operations team will review the post and send along pertinent resources - even if it has not been reported by another user.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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