Saturday, 21 March 2015

Facebook's Suicide Prevention Plan

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On the face of it, Facebook's suicide prevention plan seems like a good idea, if not an ambitious idea. There are a couple of things that I question, one of which is that its users can flag when they think a friend may be considering suicide and click on "Report Post" and the next time that person logs in, he will be told to contact the person who is concerned about him, enlist the help of another friend, or put them in contact with a suicide helpline.
Now, imagine yourself having a really bad month or two and under a lot of stress at home and at your job and thinking that you have a good friend with whom you usually share your ups and downs. Now, this friend reports your post as a possible suicide when all you wanted to do was confide in him or her as you've always done about what's going on in your life. You've always been able to vent about these things and here you are, having this friend report your post as a possible suicide.
If you are not suicidal, and most of the time a friend's rants are just a way of venting, not an indication of committing suicide, wouldn't you feel betrayed? And, more important, wouldn't you stop confiding in your friend for fear of him turning your confidential email over to a Facebook suicide prevention line?

The one thing that is noticeably absent, if Facebook really wants to prevent suicides, is to make it their responsibility to delete the posts that bully people. I hear more about that from my clients than almost anything else.
There have been so many suicides because of the bullying that takes place on Facebook and Facebook's response is that it's not severe enough to delete, or it's not their responsibility.
A few examples of this come to mind. One teenager committed suicide because of the bullying by a group of kids and one of those girls wrote on Facebook that she was glad she had caused the girl to commit suicide.
Another girl's life was threatened on Facebook after the girl was raped, pictures of her naked body posted on Facebook, and had her attackers sent to prison. And still, Facebook did nothing to alert authorities or to delete those posts.
And what about all the pictures that have been posted on Facebook of girls being raped? Some are unconscious and some are trying to fight them off, and these pictures of naked girls being raped have been posted on Facebook and Facebook didn't delete them.
Several of my clients, many of whom are successful professional people, tell me that Facebook bullies are ruining their lives and their appeals to Facebook to delete those posts have done nothing. Facebook keeps saying that they aren't vicious enough for them to do anything about them. And yet, it's those very posts that are vicious enough to cause people to be so scared and scarred for life, that push them into committing suicide.
My guess is that if Facebook would take a more proactive role in removing those bullying posts, especially where the victims and their parents, have pleaded with them to remove those posts, there would be a lot fewer suicides taking place and Facebook wouldn't have to roll out these suicide prevention plans that may cause more damage to relationships than help them.
Connie H. Deutsch is an internationally known business consultant and personal advisor who has a keen understanding of human nature and is a natural problem-solver.
Connie is the author of the books, "Whispers of the Soul," "A Slice of Life," "Whispers of the Soul for the Rest of Your Life," "From Where I'm Sitting," "View from the Sidelines," "Reaching for the Brass Ring of Life," "Purple Days and Starry Nights," "Here and There," "And That's How it Goes," and "The Counseling Effect." Her website: See more of her articles by clicking here ConnieHDeutsch Articles
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