Facebook is one of several companies exploring ways to detect online behaviors that have been linked to self-harm
A growing number of researchers and tech companies are beginning to mine social media for warning signs of suicidal thoughts. Their efforts build on emerging evidence that the language patterns of a person's social-media posts, as well as the subconscious ways they interact with their smartphone can hint at psychiatric trouble.
Businesses are just starting to test programs to automatically detect such signals. Mindstrong, for instance, an app developer in Palo Alto, California, is developing and testing machine-learning algorithms to correlate the language that people use and their behaviour—such as scrolling speed on smartphones—with symptoms of depression and other mental disorders. Next year, the company will expand its research to focus on behaviour associated with suicidal thoughts, which could eventually help health-care providers detect patients’ intentions to harm themselves more quickly. And in late November, Facebook announced that in much of the world, it was rolling out its own automated suicide-prevention tools. Tech giants Apple and Google are pursuing similar ventures.
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I find it bizarre that our society increasingly insists that we have a "right" to kill ourselves, yet insists on preventing suicide.
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