Facebook takes steps to stop suicides on Live

SAN FRANCISCO — Faced with an alarming phenomenon, people taking their own lives on its live-streaming service, Facebook is stepping up efforts to prevent suicides.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced it will integrate real-time suicide prevention tools into Facebook Live. It also said it will offer live-chat support from crisis support organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, and make it easier to report suicide or self-injury. The most novel of the new tools: Facebook is testing artificial intelligence to identify warning signs of self-harm and suicide in Facebook posts and comments.

The goal, says Facebook, to connect people in distress with people who can help.

In January, a 14-year-old girl hung herself in her Florida foster home and a 33-year-old aspiring actor shot himself in a car on a Los Angeles street, both on Facebook Live. A young Turkish man who had broken up with his girlfriend told viewers before committing suicide on Facebook Live in October: “No one believed when I said will kill myself. So watch this.”

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