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Facebook Extends Suicide Prevention Tool to Instagram

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Social media is one of the platforms users could turn to as a cry for help, and a new tool from Instagram aims to do just that. Instagram has introduced a new tool that could help prevent suicide, self-harm and eating disorders by offering help to those who need it, reports the Wall Street Journal.

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To deliver on its goal, Instagram turned to its user base instead of an algorithm: Users can anonymously flag posts such as a threat of suicide or other self-injury, and after screening by an Instagram team and agreement that it could be a threat, the original poster will see a notification which reads, “Can we help?” with a message reading, “Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help.”

“We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review these reports,” said Instagram spokeswoman Marni Tomljanovic. “They prioritize the most serious reports and respond quickly. If someone on Instagram sees a direct threat of suicide or self-injury, we encourage them to contact local emergency services immediately.”

The prompt then gives the user three options: (1) talk to a friend, (2) contact a helpline and (3) get tips and support. The service has been possible thanks to 40 different organizations across the globe such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Eating Disorders Association, Save.org and the Samaritans, who specialize in offering support services to people in need.

This Instagram tool follows the example of a similar one offered on Facebook’s own platform launched last year in February.

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