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Saturday 1 October 2016

The new Facebook feature on your feed set to tackle suicide

Greg Harkin

Published 06/09/2016 | 02:30

Facebook says the service is to help provide a safe space online where people struggling
to cope – as well as their friends and family – can find advice, resources and emotional support. (Photo: TED ALJIBE/AFP/GettyImages)
Facebook says the service is to help provide a safe space online where people struggling to cope – as well as their friends and family – can find advice, resources and emotional support. (Photo: TED ALJIBE/AFP/GettyImages)

Social media giant Facebook has teamed up with the Samaritans in a new suicide prevention initiative.

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From today, users will have access to tools that will let them report comments from people they believe are distressed.

Facebook says the service is confidential and it will not gather any data regarding the use of the new online service.

The tool will be available in its online safety guide. The initiative is available worldwide, and in Ireland it is specifically being supported and developed by the Samaritans.

Facebook says the service is to help provide a safe space online where people struggling to cope - as well as their friends and family - can find advice, resources and emotional support.

There are 2.1 million people in Ireland on Facebook.

Julie de Bailliencourt, Safety Policy manager with Facebook, said: "Keeping the Facebook community safe is our most important responsibility. We worked with organisations including Samaritans to develop these tools, and one of the first things they told us was how much connecting with people who care can help those who are struggling to cope.

"People use Facebook to connect with friends and family, and that's why we're evolving the support, resources and advice available to people who are in distress."

Deirdre Toner, Executive Director with Samaritans Ireland, said social media was a tool that some people used to communicate their feelings when they're feeling overwhelmed.

Research shows social media feeds can be effective indicators of what happens in real life, so messages that cause concern should not be ignored.

Facebook said reported content is confidential and the identity of any person who reports a troubling post will not be known to the poster.

Irish Independent

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