Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg wants to save lives. It is reported that he’s scheduled to appear on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts. He invited her to his company’s headquarters so he can introduce Facebook’s new Lifeline feature that lets people alert the company whenever one of their friends express suicidal thoughts. Facebook will send the commenter an email with a link to a confidential chat or a telephone hotline.
Lifeline was launched in December but Zuckerburg will publicly announce the feature on Tuesday May 1st.
Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg will also sit down for an interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America.
Last month, the company introduced a set of anti-bullying tools to prevent online bullying. The changes included Safety Center upgrades and social tools that make it easier to report offensive content. Highlights include educational videos, downloadable content that can be shared with others, and outside expert resources.
Facebook has gotten a negative reputation in the past as people complained that it made it easy for online bullies to contact their victims. Now the company is trying to provide a safer community and restore their reputation.
Cyber bullying is a serious problem. According to a survey from Cyberbullying Research Center, half of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying, ten to twenty percent of that group experience cyber bullying on a regular basis. While parents and educators share the responsibility to intervene when necessary and harbor a safe environment for all kids, popular social media websites should have some responsibility to make their website safer.
It is great to see that Facebook is taking the initiative to make it a better place for everyone. It’s also a great idea that Zuckerberg is launching a Lifeline feature. Suicide is tough topic to talk about and it’s even harder for people who want to reach out to help a friend but feel like they can’t. Hopefully, Facebook’s Lifeline will prove to be a success.