Facebook ups its moral responsibilities

Facebook has joined forces with the Samaritans group, and has launched a new ‘suicide-watch’ feature to help concerned friends report worrying status updates to the service.

The move follows a series of high profile suicides that could have possibly been prevented after users posted messages suggesting they were attempting to kill themselves, before later being found dead.

In December, Simone Back used her Facebook profile to announce to her friends on the service that she had taken an overdose, and she was later found dead after Christmas Day. Facebook hopes the service will encourage concerned friends to reports worrying behaviour so that police can be contacted, as opposed to the reaction that Back faced when she posted her status, where friends taunted her, called her a liar and then started arguing among themselves.

Facebook’s director of policy for Europe told the Guardian: “We’re pleased to welcome the expertise of a great partner in Samaritans. They will help to make our robust reporting system even more effective, as friend are encouraged to look out for one another on Facebook as they do in the real world.”

(Source: The Guardian)




“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”

Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.

(Source: POLIS)


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