Facebook to expand suicide prevention AI following successful US tests

Facebook to expand suicide prevention AI following successful US tests
Facebook announced on Monday that, following successful tests in the US, it will roll out its pattern recognition software designed to scan for posts with suicidal intent to other countries, except in the EU.

“When someone is expressing thoughts of suicide, it’s important to get them help as quickly as possible,” the company’s vice president for product management, Guy Rosen, said in a statement.

The software uses pattern recognition to detect what could be indications of suicidal thoughts in posts, live streams and comments. According to Rosen, things as innocuous as comments with the questions “Are you ok?” and “Can I help?” can trigger the suicide alert software. A specialized team of human workers is then alerted to deal with the potentially suicidal person posting or commenting.

The world’s largest social networking site began testing the software in the US in March and has released few technical details about the program’s inner workings.

When the company launched its Facebook live video broadcasting service last year, a raft of violents acts including murders, rapes and suicidesproliferated on the platform - and the company’s image suffered from the resulting outrage.

As a result, Facebook announced that it would hire an additional 3,000 people to monitor content.