back to article Facebook lets users report friends who post suicidal content

Facebook has introduced a service that allows users to report friends who have posted suicidal content on their account pages. The Report Suicidal Content form, asks for the URL where the comments were made, the user's full name and other information. From there, “A Facebook administrator will review your report and take any …


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  1. Anton Ivanov

    Not friends, "friends".

    Some of Back's Facebook "friends" responded with taunts and flame wars among themselves, but no one called the police until the following day, the Guardian said.

    Surely, friends gotta be in quotes here.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Discontent content

    I reported a Mission Impossible fan for "suicidal content". One of his comment stated "this message will self destruct in 5 seconds". It might be too late already.

  3. bugalugs

    Juvenile suicide is mad, bad and sad. Props to the Samaritans.

    OALN, From the Facebook Form

    " Networks this person is in - For example, the Stanford University educational network "

    What's FB got against Stanford ?

  4. david 63

    And what are the FB admins going to do?

    Remove the post?

    Cancel the account?

    Send round the Samaritans SWAT team?

    Target them with ads for anti-depressants?

    I don't think there is a good legal argument here for being better informed.

    What's left is an attempt to remove the guilt from the "friends" who either did nothing or worse pushed them over the edge.

    1. TheItCat

      It's worse than that

      Now people who spot this stuff will just report it to Facebook instead of someone who could actually do something about it.

    2. No, I will not fix your computer

      Re: And what are the FB admins going to do?

      It depends on the local laws of that country, in some US states (for example) even discussing suicidal thoughts can be illegal, in areas where there is a support group available (and legal/approved) then details may be passed on, although only details from the person reporting it may be passed on and the actual account will still stay private.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @No, I will not fix your computer

        "in some US states (for example) even discussing suicidal thoughts can be illegal"

        Citation needed. Religious 'laws' need not apply.

        1. No, I will not fix your computer


          While suicide itself (the act) is not a dejure crime in the states anymore (as in the UK which I think was repealed back in the 70's), there is allowance for what is known as common law crime, which basically states, if they believe so can consider it criminal activity. There is also a legal issue where you are breaking the law if you do not report where you are aware of suicidal thoughts (although this only applies to certain states and certain people, usually medical staff), see Lanterman Petris Short act for more info.

          Unfortunately the religosity of the individual states will affect what could be interpreted as a defacto crime under common law, and there are precidents if you want to do some research, (the most well known being 1992, Wackwitz vs Roy) this is unfortunate because emotional support groups may feel a legal obligation to tell the vulnerable person not to end their own life, while this seems logical, there is no point in telling someone not to end their own life, it's a decision that they need to come to on their own, merely telling them that they shouldn't is just taking their own self determination away, and disempowering them.

          Hope this helps.

        2. Bullseyed


          "in some US states (for example) even discussing suicidal thoughts can be illegal"

          Then it's time to get the guns and take the country back from Obamanation.

          So Facebook is becoming big brother now. Does this mean if you use Facebook places to check in to an unhealthy restaurant people can report you? How about if you post a picture of yourself smoking (legal or not)? There is no reason to get involved with people's personal decision making. Even if you make a decision that negatively effects yourself, it is yours to make. Suicide is no different.

    3. Code Monkey

      "Target them with ads for anti-depressants?"

      God that's depressingly likely. (+1)

  5. JakeyC

    Emo, Twilight kids?

    The attention-seeking noise generated by the "I wish I was dead so I could come back as a werewolf" crowd is in danger of drowning out the genuine cases!

    Mind, you I'm not on FriendFace so I could be talking balls.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. tommy060289

      So some friends didn't want you to kill yourself...

      And their the ones in the wrong? I'm assuming since you Havnt tried to kill yourself again it's because you don't regret failing so if you had have succeeded and could some how reflect you would see it was the wrong decision? I'm sorry but how is friends trying to help you out of a bad hole the wrong thing to do?

    2. No, I will not fix your computer

      Re: This is all wrong

      From what you were saying, it would have been wrong for you, however, everybody is different, the nature of what people are going through is different, for some people friends "interfering" is exactly what they need at that point, after all, you can't solve feelings of isolation by isolating people.

      The police turning up is rarely ever going to be a solution, at best it can buy some time to reconsider options, you're 100% right about "getting better", it's very difficult to get better unless you want to, how can you be forced to live? is that fair? perhaps the best idea is to talk to someone who respects you, your decisions, won't judge you, won't tell you what to do, but can be there to discuss your options, what they mean to you, how they have affected you, maybe discuss the things that have brought you to this point (if you want), talk confidentially.

      email, phone, letters, face to face visits :

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @ This is all wrong #

    Not to worry, this isn't FaceBook, you won't get anyone trying to stop you here!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are all heart

      Subject says it.

  8. Delboy

    They will be busy

    Surely, all the sad people who join Facebook, to tell all their "pretend" friends about the uninteresting things they are doing, are all suicide candidates.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. tommy060289

    you make no sense

    Youve clearly stated that you no longer want to top yourself, therefor you must be admitting that it would have been a mistake to kill yourself therefore, your friends, like any good friends were trying to stop you making the WRONG decision.

    Im not saying people cant make that decision, and some people simply cant go on (I for one support voluntary Euthanasia) but some people simply get themselves (like you did) into a hole where they wrongfully believe it is the only option. As NIWFYC pointed out, interference may be just what some people need but what do you want your friends to do? Set up a government run panel where they debate the merits ands cons of stepping in, making a long winded bureaucratic case that winds on for many years whilst you await the income to see if they should interfere or not before you attempt it.

    My mother is a nurse and has seen many person during her time that have started a suicide attempt (O/D's for example) only to realise it was a mistake, but it is too late and they are going to die.

    Im not saying people shouldn't be allowed the choice, but you must consider that you friends and family and others may simply know better (and conversely be stupid morons who dont have a clue!)


  11. Graham Marsden

    Now playing...

    ... Goodbye Cruel World by Pink Floyd...

    Quick, call Facebook!!

  12. The elephant in the room

    Opt-in alert service?

    It will be hard for a Facebook admin who does not know the poster to determine whether they are serious or what they can do to help.

    Facebook could offer an opt-in service whereby the user can nominate a trusted friend or family member to be notified by the Facebook admin if another user (or monitoring AI) flags that they have they posted something out of character or suicidal. The trusted friend would be better at determining whether there is a genuine problem and better placed to take action.

    It is true that users with no prior history of suicidal tendencies or other mental illness would probably not sign up to such a service, but those diagnosed with bipolar disorder for example may well welcome this as an additional safety net.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Further explaination needed

      "flags that they have they posted something out of character"


  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Again, Further explanation needed

    "It is true that users with no prior history of suicidal tendencies or other mental illness "

    I read this as, people who have contemplated suicide have a mental illness. Is this really what you mean, and if so, WTF?

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Yes. People who contemplate suicide have a mental illness.

    Please, educate yourself. Almost all massive depression leading to suicide is a completely treatable mental illness.

    There are certainly cases of wanting to die, e.g. my 89 year old grandmother who is in constant pain, that are clearly not a case of mental illness. A teenager wanting to off themselves, though, probably has a hormone imbalance, serotonin deficiency, or other easily treatable medical condition.

    Other common causes for suicide include mental illness caused by physical or emotional abuse, which is also equally treatable with therapy and counseling.

    Get the facts, man. "Mental illness" is not an insult, it's a fact.

  15. dracnoc

    I'm bipolar...

    ... dark little thoughts aren't a stranger to me, but this really isn't an issue that FB should be dealing with.

    If they have real "friends" on FB, then those friends would be calling the appropriate professionals to help them.

    You may as well pin up a Samaritans card on a public notice board, just in case someone reads a note that looks a bit off-colour.

  16. tuna 1

    Don't Suspect A Friend...

    Report them!

  17. John F***ing Stepp
    Big Brother

    But we have always been at war with Oceana.

    "Know what scares me Winston old buddy? Sitting on some beach with a cocktail; watching the sun go down cross the waves while bikinid babes waft back and forth. Winston, (whispering),never talk where they can hear you. Last year I spent six month getting re-educated in Miami."

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    You too can be locked naked in a tiny cell, with help from your "friends". At least if you live in the US, where that is apparently considered appropriate treatment.

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