After a slate of horrifying and highly publicized suicides that were aired in real time on Facebook Live, the social media platform is responding with several new features that'll hopefully curtail this epidemic.
If someone sees a video or reads posts or comments that look alarming, instead of just reporting it to Facebook moderators, the viewer will now have prompts that will allow for specifying the problem. For example, after reporting a disturbing live session or post, a pop-up now appears inquiring about the nature of the problem: suicide, hate speech and bullying are among the options. The viewer then has the ability to contact a help line, get support or contact a fellow friend to help in the matter.
The fact that this is all happening in real time and through Facebook allows for the speed, ease, and comfort that could help in curbing self-harm.
More importantly, the new features affect the person in need. Once someone has reported a problem, a pop-up appears offering the individual help and links to a hotline, tips and the option to message a trusted friend for help.
Recently, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained Facebook's role and vision for the future, saying, "our job at Facebook is to help people make the greatest positive impact while mitigating areas where technology and social media can contribute to divisiveness and isolation. Facebook is a work in progress, and we are dedicated to learning and improving."
Latina teens have the hightest rate of suicide in the country, so we are happy to see Facebook taking charge to help our community, and others, on this devastating mental health issue.