Facebook wants to make it easier for friends to report potentially suicidal statuses and connect those individuals who might be considering self-harm with a friend, or trained professional. The latest tool that the social network has decided to entertain gives users who are reporting content, for one reason or another, a new option when going through the process. Now, when a user presses the arrow that appears at the top of the status in question – an option for “self-harm” will appear, which will then lead the user who posted the update to receive a notification that their friend – and the Facebook community as a whole, is concerned about them.
The update is one that comes after Facebook had long been considered one of the leaders online, but one of the companies who took the least initiative in terms of actually rooting out suicidal behavior on the social network – leading up to the catalyst event of someone taking their own life, or inflicting some harm on themselves. However, this comes at a time when in the bigger picture we’re seeing more-frequent cases of individuals showing signs of either inflicting harm in themselves, or in those around them – and ultimately those warning signs being missed.
While many have maintained that threats of suicide or any level of violence should be taken seriously, and reported to the proper emergency authorities, it’s worth noting that this is a very good step for Facebook to take in terms of just accounting for some of the challenge that comes with monitoring something like this. Additionally, working with save.org and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is something that Facebook hadn’t done to this point – so it speaks to how seriously the company really is taking the constant questions about safety on their social network.
All of this being said though, Facebook still has significant concerns in terms of safety and security on their social network, and this system isn’t by any means flawless. It can connect a troubled user with someone to talk to, which is great, but at the same time many will continue to argue that this falls short. Either way, it’s important for Facebook to continue pushing forward on issues like this which so directly impact their users.