Facebook trains artificial intelligence to spot suicidal signs

In this April 18, 2017, file photo, conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif. (AP)
Updated 28 November 2017
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Facebook trains artificial intelligence to spot suicidal signs

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook on Monday said stepping up the use of artificial intelligence to identify members of the leading social network who may be thinking of suicide.
Software will look for clues in posts or even in videos being streamed at Facebook Live, then fire off reports to human reviewers and speed up alerts to responders trained to help, according to the social network.
“This approach uses pattern recognition technology to help identify posts and live streams as likely to be expressing thoughts of suicide,” Facebook vice president of product management Guy Rosen said in a blog post.
Signs watched for were said to include texts by people or comments to them, such as someone asking if they are troubled.
Facebook already has tools in place for people to report concerns about friend’s who may be considering self-harm, but the software can speed the process and even detect signs people may overlook.
“There have been terribly tragic events — like suicides, some live-streamed — that perhaps could have been prevented if someone had realized what was happening and reported them sooner,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said early this year in a post at the social network focused on building global community.
“Artificial intelligence can help provide a better approach.”
Facebook is rolling out the artificial intelligence tool outside the US and planned to make it eventually available everywhere except the European Union, where data usage is restricted by privacy regulations.
Facebook has been collaborating with mental health organizations for about a decade on ways to spot signs users may be suicidal and get them help.


Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

Updated 1 min 25 sec ago
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Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

  • The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent
  • Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International

HANOI, Vietnam: A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced an activist to 27 months in prison for Facebook posts that judges say insulted the ruling Communist Party and government and called for anti-government protests.
Doan Khanh Vinh Quang, 42, was convicted “abuse of democratic freedom to infringe on the legitimate interests of the state” by the People’s Court in Ninh Kieu District in Can Tho province after a one-day trial Monday, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The agency quoted judges as saying Quang’s actions “actively abetted hostile and reactionary forces from inside and outside the country” who want to overthrow the party and government.
Court officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent. Quang was third activist to be jailed in a week on similar charges.
On Saturday, Nguyen Hong Nguyen and Truong Dinh Khang, were convicted of insulting the Communist Party and its leaders, including late founding President Ho Chi Minh, and sentenced to two years and one year respectively in separate cases in Can Tho province.
Despite sweeping economic reforms over the past 30 years that opened Vietnam to foreign investment and trade that made it one of fastest growing economies in the region, the Communist Party tolerates no challenge to its one-party rule.
Some Western governments and international human rights groups criticize Vietnam for jailing people for peacefully expressing their views. Hanoi says only lawbreakers are put behind bars.
Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International.