Facebook believes that analyzing the users’ activity on its platform can help determine who of the Facebookers might be thinking of committing a suicide. The social media giant has teamed up with Save.org (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) to study activity of suicide victims on the platform in the days before their deaths.
In fact, signs of suicide can be spotted in the content such users post to their walls. If friends and family identify these warning signals, they can save the life of such a user. The details of this collaboration are not unveiled, but it according to Bloomberg, “the project is focusing on at least 20 people in a Minnesota county who died by suicide.” The new research will help analyze the content—such as posts about suicide in general, saying they are unhappy and miserable, trapped or being a burden, seeking advice on ways to die and more—users feature on their Facebook walls.
Photo: A Facebook logo on a computer screen, Reuters
“Anything that can decrease the latency between someone needing help and getting help is beneficial. We’re trying to really shorten that period of time, whether it’s Facebook intervening, or that person’s friends, or suicide-prevention organizations,” noted Facebook Security Policy Manager Frederic Wolens to Bloomberg. For Facebook in not alone helping prevent suicides—Twitter and Google also contribute by providing data for conducting studies and bringing up the phone number of social services when suicide items are searched.
In fact, Facebook in some way can provoke suicides itself. The recent study by German scientists revealed that the social media site No.1 can cause envy—watching your friend’s vacation, holiday or wedding photos can trigger feelings of misery and loneliness. All this can cause depression, and the last may result in suicide. “We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook, with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry,” researcher Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Humboldt University in Berlin commented to Reuters.