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.


Nicaragua police raid opposition paper, end rights groups’ permits

View of damages at the office of Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, who rents at the building of the NGO Center of Investigation on Communication (CINCO) in Managua on December 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Nicaragua police raid opposition paper, end rights groups’ permits

  • Confidencial’s front door was sealed with tape following the raid. Police seized work equipment and documents

MANAGUA: Nicaraguan police have raided the offices of an opposition daily and then stripped human rights and activist groups’ permission to operate, those targeted said Saturday.
Nine police officers armed with rifles entered the offices late Friday and started pushing people, beating others and making fun of reporters after journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro challenged them to take on his media outlet without a search warrant in his online daily Confidencial and news broadcasts Esta Semana and Esta Noche, he said.
What you are doing “is just de facto. If you have the order, I ask you to show it,” Chamorro said from the street to the agent who barred him and other colleagues from entering the offices.
“Police did not show any order at all... so this is an armed assault on private property, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and free enterprise,” he later told reporters.
Confidencial’s front door was sealed with tape following the raid. Police seized work equipment and documents.
Chamorro went to the police headquarters to demand the return of equipment, noting that the newspaper and television programs “are private companies attached to the commercial register, and have nothing to do with organizations that are being persecuted.”
The offices of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) and four other NGOs in Managua were also occupied, and lawmakers canceled their permits to operate.
“Brutal display of brute force against journalists from @confidencial_ni in Nicaragua... this regime... aims to demolish critical voices in its country,” Human Rights Watch director Jose Miguel Vivanco said on Twitter.
Leftist President Daniel Ortega first came to power in 1979 as a leader of the leftist Sandinista rebels that toppled the US-backed Somoza family dictatorship. After leaving office in 1990 he returned to power in 2007.