Facebook AI to help in suicide prevention

New York, March 2: With the surge in instances of people using Facebook Live to stream suicides, the social media giant is expanding the portfolio of its suicide prevention tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) and pattern recognition to help troubled users.The new tools are similar to the ones that Facebook launched in 2015, which allowed users' friends to flag a troubling image or status post. The feature was now this feature is available on Facebook Live and would connect a troubled user with an expert in real-time, The Verge reported on Thursday. The users who reported the video will also get resources to personally reach out and help their friends if they wish to identify his or herself.Facebook has partnered with organisations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Eating Disorder Association and the Crisis Text Line so when users' posts are flagged and they opt to speak to someone, they can connect immediately via Messenger.Using data from reported posts, Facebook would use its AI technology to spot patterns between flagged items, identifying posts that suggest that user may be suicidal. "Our Community Operations team will review these posts and, if appropriate, provide resources to the person who posted the content, even if someone on Facebook has not reported it yet," Facebook was quoted as saying.Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recognised the need to detect signs of suicidal users to offer help before it was too late. "There have been terribly tragic events -- like suicides, some live streamed -- that perhaps could have been prevented if someone had realized what was happening and reported them sooner," he was quoted as saying. "To prevent harm, we can build social infrastructure to help our community identify problems before they happen," Zuckerberg added.The new tools were currently being tested in the US and no timeline was given for future rollouts.