Facebook AI helps save lives


Facebook Artificial Intelligence (AI) will scan and monitor their website to help prevent suicides.

This is not the first time Facebook has used artificial intelligence to scan for troubling posts. This new AI will be used all over the world. However, it will not be permitted in The European Union (EU). The EU has a strict privacy policy and does not allow websites to profile users.

Facebook has the ability to monitor information about users from all over the world. They are hoping to use that information for good by sending resources and emergency help, if needed, to users it is concerned about.

Mark Zuckerberg commented on the new AI system with Leanna Garfield, a reporter for Business insider.

“When you’re trying to keep people safe, speed is really important,” said Zuckerberg. “In the last month in the U.S., the [AI] tool has helped first responders reach out and help more than 100 people who needed that support quickly.”

This new AI feature has drawn up some controversy. The issue on allowing companies like Facebook to monitor and keep information on its users is always a public concern. Alex Stamos the chief security officer at Facebook addressed the public on Twitter.

“The creepy/scary/malicious use of AI will be a risk forever, which is why it’s important to set good norms today around weighing data use versus utility and be thoughtful about bias creeping in,” said Stamos.

Facebook will use AI to observe posts, messages, and livestream videos, and report it to human moderators. AI is focused on helping to prevent suicide and will have a staff to deal with cases 24/7. Facebook has also partnered up with 80 local partners such as Save.org and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. These organizations provide resources to those who struggle with suicidal thoughts.

Orlando Reyes, an art major at Skyline, was concerned about what Facebook could be doing with the information it is gathering on users to help prevent suicide. “I think it’s an invasion of privacy,” said Reyes.

The AI will also monitor Facebook livestreams. The AI is looking at livestreams that have a copious amount of views, comments, or shares for any activity that shows that the person live streaming may need help. The scanning of the AI will be designed to flag signs of suicide attempts and will notify first responders.

Facebook will focus on improving its technology over time to lower the chances of incorrectly flagging posts or livestreams.

Julie Garza, an undeclared Skyline College student, commented on how she feels about Facebook monitoring their users to prevent suicide.

“For these purposes i’m okay with it,” said Garza. “But if it is used in other ways, I’d be skeptical.”

According to Business Insider, Facebook will also be implementing other humanitarian initiatives such as tools aimed at mentorship, fundraising, and increasing blood donation sign-ups.