Social Media has become a virtual reality for the way we engage, stay informed, and communicate with one another. Conversations and engagements held off-line are mirroring, more and more, conversations that occur on-line. A mimic of reality on-line creates the same ugly truths and issues that take place, off-line. Every-day, someone threatens to commit suicide via a social network, most commonly on Facebook or Twitter. Facebook has developed a new feature that combats real issues on-line, keeping in mind a user’s privacy. The feature is aimed at preventing suicide; it has been reviewed and studied by suicide survivals to ensure its projected success.
Here is how the feature works. When users see a friend’s post that is suspect for depression or suicide, users have the option to click a button that triggers the pop-up of two options to either directly connect with the user or report the post to a Facebook analyst. The Facebook friend who posted the post will be notified, anonymously, of resources, such as a suicide 24-hour help hot-line, and tactics to help them through their feelings of suicide. This feature has been reviewed by suicide survivals to ensure its success.
I’m interested to see the results of such a valuable tool. I think suicide is an important issue, especially as it often correlates with social media. The development of such a feature has increased the relevance of Facebook amongst society. It at least encourages myself to use Facebook more since they have taken an active role in corporate social responsibility on a platform that needs it most.
For more information on how Facebook plans to reduce suicide rates, check out this video: Facebook reaching out to users who might be suicidal