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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Facebook Is Using Artificial Intelligence To Help Prevent Suicide

Alex Kantrowitz
BuzzFeed
Originally published March 1, 2017

Facebook is bringing its artificial intelligence expertise to bear on suicide prevention, an issue that’s been top of mind for CEO Mark Zuckerberg following a series of suicides livestreamed via the company’s Facebook Live video service in recent months.

“It’s hard to be running this company and feel like, okay, well, we didn’t do anything because no one reported it to us,” Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed News in an interview last month. “You want to go build the technology that enables the friends and people in the community to go reach out and help in examples like that.”

Today, Facebook is introducing an important piece of that technology — a suicide-prevention feature that uses AI to identify posts indicating suicidal or harmful thoughts. The AI scans the posts and their associated comments, compares them to others that merited intervention, and, in some cases, passes them along to its community team for review. The company plans to proactively reach out to users it believes are at risk, showing them a screen with suicide-prevention resources including options to contact a helpline or reach out to a friend.

The article is here.
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