Facebook updates policies to help prevent suicide; self-harm

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File – This Jan. 17, 2017, file photo shows a Facebook logo being displayed in a start-up companies gathering at Paris’ Station F, in Paris. Facebook is on the offensive to try to contain swirling concerns about how it protects the data of its 2.2 billion members. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to face Congress […]

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Facebook announced Tuesday on policy changes aimed to help preventing suicide and self-injury.

“Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, we’re sharing an update on what we’ve learned and some of the steps we’ve taken in the past year, as well as additional actions we’re going to take, to keep people safe on our apps, especially those who are most vulnerable,” wrote Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety, in a Facebook Newsroom article.

Facebook met with global experts to discuss topics connected to suicide and self-injury. Among those topics is how Facebook deals with suicide notes, online content considered to be “sad” and suicide events considered newsworthy. Facebook has made the outcome of these meetings available on their Suicide Prevention page and their Safety Center.

Facebook and Instagram will now restrict graphics depicting self-harm or cutting images, even if the images are used in asking for help for recovery — sensitivity screens will cover scars that have healed as a result of self-harm. The policies also address content expressing eating disorders by prohibiting images encouraging the behavior. Users posting these types of images will receive resources from Facebook even if their content is removed.

A health and well-being expert will be added to Facebook’s staff to the impact of users’ health and well-being on its apps and policies.

User’s public data will be shared with two select academic researchers through the social media application CrowdTangle in hopes to find how information on Facebook can be used in suicide prevention.

The article states that Facebook took action on 1.5 million pieces of suicide and self-injury content between April to June of 2019. Action was also taken on more that 800 thousand items of content on Instagram in the same time period.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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