Facebook updates feature for suicide prevention


Facebook began rolling out a feature update Wednesday that aids suicide prevention.

The updated tool lets users flag content on both the desktop and mobile version of the social network that they find concerning. If a Facebook friend posts something that indicates he might be thinking of harming himself, users can click on an arrow on the post to report it. Facebook will then offer options to contact the friend, contact another friend for support or contact a suicide helpline.

The social network partnered with mental health organizations Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and to develop the tool.


“One of the first things these organizations discussed with us was how much connecting with people who care can help those in distress,” Facebook product manager Rob Boyle and community operations safety specialist Nicole Staubli said in a Facebook post. “We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review any report that comes in. They prioritize the most serious reports, like self-injury, and send help and resources to those in distress.”

Boyle and Staubli said if anyone sees a direct threat of suicide on Facebook, they should contact their local emergency services immediately.

Facebook has given users a way to report potentially suicidal content since 2011, but the previous feature required users to upload screenshots or a link of the post to the company’s suicide prevention page. The updated version of the feature integrates the ability to report a post into the post itself.

Twitter: @traceylien