Facebook introduces suicide prevention tools

The company is using its live video platform to add features that enable users to alert staff if people streaming might harm themselves. It’s a move to address a growing epidemic.

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Facebook is working to improve its suicide prevention outreach in its live video program.

The company said it will improve reporting tools if viewers think someone who is streaming on Facebook Live might harm themselves.

The move comes in the wake of what USA Today called “an alarming phenomenon” of people taking their own lives while broadcasting on the service.

Facebook product manager Vanessa Callison-Burch, researcher Jennifer Guadagno and the company’s headof global safety, Antigone Davis, wrote in a company blog post:

There is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds. Experts say that one of the best ways to prevent suicide is for those in distress to hear from people who care about them.

Facebook is in a unique position — through friendships on the site — 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.

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