Facebook has rolled out yet another new feature, this time to help prevent friends from committing suicide. The social network has previously had a tool that aimed to help those who might be suicidal and the network is updating it to be more robust. With this update, those who may be suicidal are temporarily locked out of their account.
The new suicide prevention tool on Facebook will allow friends of the troubled person to report their status and will then present info about preventing suicide and a further option to privately message the user. The person doing the reporting can also escalate the issue to Facebook itself.
According to a Facebook post written by Product Manager Rob Boyle and Safety Specialist Nicole Staubli, a trained team will review reports of posts that appear to be suicidal and if necessary send the poster notifications with suicide prevention resources, such as a connection to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline, University of Washington’s Forefront Organization. That user’s account will be temporarily blocked and the user does not get to access again until they are presented with a Facebook page showing information on preventing suicide hotline, and an option to contact one’s friend over it.
Facebook is currently testing with users in the US like it did to many other features. Having rolled the new tool to a small number of users with plans to add more later this year. Following that expansion, the tool will also then become available to those in other places globally.