On Feb. 25, Facebook unveiled a new feature for suicide prevention. The social media giant partnered with Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org and Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention to give users the option to report a friend’s post as concerning.
If a Facebook user sees a friend’s post indicating self harm, that user will have the option to “Report (the) Post.” The user then has the option to contact the friend, contact another friend support or contact a suicide hotline. The post will then be reviewed by Facebook and admins contact the friend if they deem the post as concerning. From there, the friend will have the option to reach out to a friend or family member or get support and advice.
Get more information about the new Facebook feature here: http://ow.ly/JPV2a
On Feb. 26, a Facebook user and self-proclaimed citizen activist for privacy and free speech on social media, uploaded a suicidal post on Facebook to test the new feature, according to a San Mateo's KRON4. The result was his being arrested by police and detained in a psychiatric hospital for 72 hours.
Shane Tusch wrote (as the experiment) that he had been fighting with his bank to save his home and could no longer take the stress. He added that he wanted to commit suicide in a very public way to get people talking about his and other people's problems with banks.
"The only way anything is ever going to get done and start people talking is when someone is willing to take things to the extreme," Tusch wrote. "I think I'll hang myself from the Golden Gate Bridge with a big sign that says bank america (sic) killed me..."
No where does his post say that this was an experiment to test the new suicide prevention feature. Friends started reaching out urging Tusch to change his mind. And the one person called police, according to abcnews7. Tusch wasn't home when police came to his house, so he made his way to the police station to check in.
The news station reports that the police department did its own assessment independent of Tusch's Facebook post and took him into custody for 72 hours under mental health watch. His wife wasn't even able to get him released.
After he was let go, Tusch filed a complaint against Facebook in partnership with Consumer Watchdog, which is calling for a suspension of the feature "until it is fully protective of the rights of all individuals and contains safeguards against abuse."
Tusch updated his Facebook to say that "Facebook needs to leave suicide prevention to family and friends that can truly access someone's needs and situation...This is an issue that has no place in social media. There are no checks and balances!"