The world’s largest social network has announced its intentions of doubling down on preventing self-harm by using artificial intelligence software designed to identify posts containing suicidal intent. The software can identify expressions of suicidal thoughts in posts, comments and Facebook Live videos.


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Facebook has announced a series of steps it is taking in order to detect suicidal intent in posts and comments. The social network has been testing an AI-based pattern recognition software and it is currently being used only within the US. However, the company announced it is working to expand the software worldwide, excluding the EU.

“When someone is expressing thoughts of suicide, it’s important to get them help as quickly as possible,” explained Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Management, in a blog post on Monday. “Facebook is a place where friends and family are already connected, and we are able to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them. It’s part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook.”

Rosen wrote that users may still report suspicions of suicidal intent and stressed that the company has teams working around the clock reviewing them. He explained that the company’s new pattern recognition software, which can scan any post and live video on the network, accelerates the detection of suicidal intent and can provide faster solutions to identify appropriate first responders.

“It’s part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook,” wrote Rosen. “Facebook has been working on suicide prevention tools for more than 10 years. Our approach was developed in collaboration with mental health organizations such as, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Forefront Suicide Prevention and with input from people who have had personal experience thinking about or attempting suicide. They are also available globally — with the help of over 80 local partners — in whatever language people use Facebook in.”