Life is like a roller coaster ride, throwing challenges at every step. Some people accept these challenges graciously and strive to fight them out with full force and vigor. However, not all are same; there are some people for whom these challenges become a cause for stress and burden. And when the problems spiral out of hand, they start affecting people’s physical and mental health, to the extent that they start give way to suicidal thoughts and ideations.
Understanding the entire scenario, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of social media site Facebook, successfully launched the campaign for suicide prevention in September 2017. Now, it has upgraded its artificial intelligence (AI) to launch its all-new initiative to curb the number of suicide cases in different parts of the world. Yes, now Facebook’s AI is helping save suicidal people’s lives.
Facebook has upgraded its AI to detect suicidal ideation among people. With a new and upgraded Facebook AI, the social media site would now be able to identify any kind of suicidal thoughts among people. The upgraded technology will allow Facebook to scan the posts, comments and live videos shared by people on the platform to determine if he/she has suicidal tendencies.
In an FB post, Zuckerberg had shared about the upgraded FB AI, “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. In the last month alone, these AI tools have helped us connect with first responders quickly more than 100 times. With all the fear about how AI may be harmful in the future, it’s good to remind ourselves how AI is actually helping save people’s lives today.”
To read the complete post, click: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104242660091961
How does it work?
Facebook has revamped its AI in such a way that it works in sync with the existing tools of suicide prevention and self-harm reporting. The support tools available on the platform work in such a way that the users are able to flag the posts that reflect or talk about suicide or self-harm, which, in turn, provides the person, in need of help, with relevant resources and support information. Once flagged, these posts are then cross-checked and reviewed by the operations team of the Facebook to verify and confirm if there’s any risk of suicide.
The Facebook artificial intelligence and other tools to prevent suicidal ideation have been developed with the help of several mental health organizations, such as Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Forefront Suicide Prevention. Some sort of assistance was also taken from those who have a personal experience of thinking about or attempting suicide.
Flagging on Facebook
Although, flagging is not a terminology of Facebook it is commonly used these days to signify reporting of any action taken by an individual that’s annoying or bothering another individual. Flagging on Facebook is about letting the Facebook employees’ know about any action taken by a user that is inappropriate. Some of the common things that can be flagged on Facebook include inappropriate advertisements, fake accounts and signs of harassment, abuse or threats.
Access to the reporting function of Facebook is different for each feature. For instance, a post in newsfeed can be reported by clicking on the grey arrow that appears on hovering the cursor over the post and then clicking “Report Story or Spam.” A personal message can be reported by clicking “Actions” after opening the conversation thread followed by clicking “Report Spam or Abuse.” Flagging on Facebook can also serve as a great help to meet the aim of Facebook suicide prevention. Observing any inappropriate content or anything that signifies suicidal ideation can be easily reported to the FB staff who, in turn, can take appropriate action to save a life.
Suicidal statistics are upsetting
Suicide has become one of the most common concerns bothering both the society as well as the federal bodies in different parts of the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. This number is close to one person in every 40 seconds. It has also been revealed that globally suicide is the second leading cause of death among the age group of 15-29 years. In the U.S. alone, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in 2015, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) revealed that approximately 90 percent of people who die by suicide were found to be experiencing a mental health issue at the time of their death.
Facebook AI is not a threat to the role played by mental health experts. It has rather expanded their role and provided an easy access to mental health care to individuals. One must understand that stress and suffering are just a phase of life. Therefore, they should never let such feelings rule their brains or force them to take any inappropriate action. Be happy and stay safe.