Facebook launches suicide alert scheme with Samaritans

Darren Allan

March 8, 2011

Facebook has launched a scheme in conjunction with the Samaritans where users can report friends who they think might be suicidal.

The move comes after a number of suicides have been preceded by the person taking their own life posting cries for help or virtual suicide notes on Facebook.

There was a high profile case reported in January where Simone Back, a depressed charity worker, posted that she had taken an overdose. None of her 1000+ friends reacted to try and help her until the next day, when it was too late.

So Facebook now has a system where they can report “suicidal content” on a form, detailing the type of content, person and date posted.

A Facebook admin will review the cases and take action from their end. The social network also states that you should “contact law enforcement immediately” if you see suicidal messages posted on the site.

A help centre page also provides numbers and email contacts for the Samaritans in the UK (and links for other countries). There are also links to the Samaritans’ page on emotional health.

Unfortunately, we can see this facility being abused, with “comedians” attempting to be funny by posting prank suicide jokes.


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