Facebook has linked up with UK charity The Samaritans to offer counseling to users who are contemplating suicide.
From today, reports The Guardian, anyone worried that a posting by a friend might indicate suicidal thoughts can report the incident to put the person concerned in touch with a Samaritans counselor.
Users are being asked to visit Facebook’s Help pages to report any worrying behaviour, although at present the report form is hidden behind a number of layers of menus. With The Samaritans covering only the UK and Ireland, we’ve contacted Facebook to clarify if the arrangement only relates to users in those countries. (Update: see below)
With Facebook being an important part of many people’s lives now, safety on the network has become an increasingly discussed issue in the mainstream media. Last year the company relaunched its Safety Centre and partnered with the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre to launch an app that proved successful boosting reports of suspicious behaviour.
UPDATE: Facebook informs us that the UK and Ireland arrangement with The Samaritans is in addition to existing relationships with similar organisations with the USA and Norway. A spokesperson said: “As Facebook continues to internationalise the site we will be working hard to build relationships with similar organisations around the world.”