The world’s largest social media platform is constantly searching for ways to become more socially relevant. It needs to do so because of a constant stream of complaints and criticisms from users that range from privacy concerns and inconvenient changes such as last year’s new messaging app.
And let’s not forget the controversy that stirred last summer when Facebook admitted that it had manipulated the news feeds of hundreds of thousands of its users as part of a secret psychological experiment.
The new feature, Facebook asserts, will help people who may have suicidal thoughts, as well as their family and friends. It has done so by updating its tools for these people and the company has worked with organizations like Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.org on the updates.
In a message on “Facebook Safety” the company asked that if someone on Facebook sees a direct threat of suicide, we they contact their local emergency services immediately. It also asks them to report any troubling content to Facebook. It says that the company has 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.
Rob Boyle, Facebook Product Manager & Nicole Staubli, Facebook Community Operations Safety Specialist wrote in the post, “For those who may need help we have significantly expanded the support and resources that are available to them the next time they log on to Facebook after we review a report of something they’ve posted.
“Besides encouraging them to connect with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, we now also give them the option of reaching out to a friend, and provide tips and advice on how they can work through these feelings. All of these resources were created in conjunction with our clinical and academic partners.
“We’re also providing new resources and support to the person who flagged the troubling post, including options for them to call or message their distressed friend letting them know they care, or reaching out to another friend or a trained professional at a suicide hotline for support.
These updates will roll out to everyone who uses Facebook in the U.S. over the next couple of months. We’re also working to improve our tools for those outside the U.S.”