Life or death decisions by Facebook moderators?

  Forum Editor 00:05 08 Mar 2011

Facebook is introducing a scheme whereby anyone worried that a friend might be contemplating suicide can fill out a form detailing their concerns, which is passed to the site's moderators.

"When a report is made, they then assess whether they need to call the police immediately or forward it on to us," said Samaritans' Nicola Peckett

Obviously anything that can be done to help people who are contemplating suicide has to be a good thing, but I wonder how well qualified Facebook moderators are in terms of assessing situations like this?

While I'm on the subject, what's all that about calling the Police? It's not a crime to contemplate (or even to commit) suicide, although it's a criminal offence to 'encourage and/or assist' a suicide attempt.

It will be interesting to see how the Facebook initiative works in practice.

  wolfie3000 07:36 08 Mar 2011

Whats the betting this will be abused by trolls.

  morddwyd 07:54 08 Mar 2011

Not a responsibility I would take on lightly.

  WhiteTruckMan 10:07 08 Mar 2011

as being all that caring about its users. Concerns about privacy etc all seem to have fallen on deaf ears, as far as I know.

To me, this seems like nothing more than a cynical PR exercise, although I hope I'm wrong.


  GANDALF <|:-)> 10:32 08 Mar 2011

This is sheer, put the responsibility elsewhere, cobblers. If someone wants to broadcast their intention to top themselves to a bunch of strangers, why should it be the responsibility of any person involved with a site, to take charge of their life? If you write a diary you would not expect Letts to form an enquiry commission every time you wrote 'Im gonna end it all, woe is me'. People need to get a grip regarding what the Internet is.


  Chegs ®™ 11:09 08 Mar 2011

I admit to always believing that suicide was against the law & wondered how the CPS would prosecute anyone for killing themselves.I also wonder what qualifications the Samaritan you call when feeling depressed might have.Having had a visit from the Police "concerned" I might be contemplating suicide(vindictive ex-girlfriend)I can confirm they do investigate,but again what qualifications do the Police Officers have to assess anyone's mental state?

  wee eddie 11:20 08 Mar 2011

That's all it really is.

Think about it.

The Samaritans don't call you ~ You call the Samaritans.

The Police, as has been said before, deal with Crime and none has been committed. Anyway, they are more likely to send someone round, about four days later, to take the details.

  Uboat 11:34 08 Mar 2011

WTM seems to hit the nail with the hammer! they dont matey! we are just a number & they have shown me this when you need to contact them, their website is is rammed with FAQ's and no direct contact.? my cousin is one of the best players in the super league & some times although he doesnt have a FB account we find someone has faked his account on can be frustrating when on their wall & photos they are swearing or being rude when you know its not the real person!!

Anyway FB are one of the worst companies to contact it took me a month to get it closed down..NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

  Forum Editor 17:12 08 Mar 2011

Suicide has not been an offence in this country since 1961, when the Suicide act became law.

  ella33 19:33 08 Mar 2011

I certainly find facebook less tthan good with any response to admin enquiries, so it will need to be different. I think facebook itself, or rather the way it is used gives a kind of online power to abusers, and it iss no secret from anyone that there have been suicides on facebook and twitter, with "onlookers" cheering the person on and telling them how useless theyare and to get on with it. I guess it would be an improvement for other onlookers to have someone to contact.

I have never been a Samaritan (or I wouldn't have time to be here!) but when I have worked for the social services and other voluntary organisations, we have had talks from Samaritans and also speaking to people I know well (you can only discuss this with someone close), it does seem a good training. I think it woud need considerable skills to work through the bullying of facebook sharks and help someone who is in need. If it is sincere and not just a gesture that is.

  Dragon_Heart 01:50 09 Mar 2011

I know both the Samaritans and police have special officers to deal with this sad reflection of human life.

As Forum Editor said suicide has not been an offence in this country since the early 60's, when the Suicide act became law. Many people are now pushing to extend tht law so it is not a criminal offence to 'encourage and/or assist' a suicide attempt.

That is being a little harsh GANDALF. 'Im gonna end it all, woe is me' is a cry for help, think yourself lucky if your state of mine has never reached that point.

FE I THINK the poice would get involved in order to trace the person as I don't think The Samaritans can not.

A question for you FE, what would you do is someone 'appeared' on the forums sounding a 'cry for help'. Could or would you do anything ?

I only hope Fasebook does not let anyone down or they may shoot themselves in the foot.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

The Evil Within 2 review-in-progress

Photoshop CC 2018 released with new Curvature Pen and better brush tools

Camera tips to take better iPhone photos

Les meilleures applications de covoiturage 2017