The program, which launched Tuesday, lets friends alert Facebook when users express suicidal thoughts, reports The Associated Press. If your friend posts a comment related to suicide, for instance, you can report it to Facebook by clicking a link next to the comment. Facebook will then send an email to the comment's author directing them to a telephone hotline or a link they can click to start a confidential chat. Facebook reps could not be reached for comment on the program, which was identified as "Lifeline."
FB Aims to Prevent Suicides
The initiative illustrates Facebook's growing sense of responsibility for users' lives. That sense seems to have fueled other recent programs, including a suite of tools introduced in March to crack down on cyberbullying. Facebook has also stepped out to encourage users and the company's employees to support gay rights with an Oct. 20 initiative for Spirit Day.
This isn't the first step that Facebook has taken to address suicide rates. In November, an app from SafetyWeb.com appeared on the network that made it easier for users to report suicide threats through Facebook.
Meanwhile, in May Google introduced a feature that triggered an image of a red telephone and the toll-free number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline when a user searched for suicide-related topics.