Facebook and Instagram offer suicide and self-harm reporting tools


In 2016, Facebook and its photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram rolled out a new reporting tool that lets users anonymously flag posts that suggest friends are threatening self-harm or suicide. The act of flagging the post triggers a message from Instagram to the user in question offering support including access to a help line and suggestions such as calling a friend. These messages are also triggered if someone searches the service for certain terms such as "thinspo", which is associated with eating disorders. Facebook says it worked with a number of charities and acadmics to develop the tool. In 2017, the company added technology to automatically flag posts that might have expressions of suicidal thoughts for human analysis. In 2018, the company said the enhanced programme was flagging 20 times more postings for reviewers to examine, and twice as many people are receiving Facebook's suicide prevention support materials.

Writer: Sarah Perez, Catherine Shu, Jordan Novet

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