In an effort to limit harmful online content, Google, Facebook and Snapchat will work with the suicide prevention experts from British non-profit organisation Samaritans, as part of a new government-backed project. Founded in 1953, Samaritans aim to provide emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the UK and Ireland.
The new scheme forms part of a concerted cross-government effort to rein in the social media companies, amid growing concern over the prevalence of harmful content online across areas including terrorism, child abuse, self-harm and suicide, The Guardian reported on Sunday. UK's Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to officially announce the initiative later on Monday.
Aiming to make the UK safest place to be online, a new White Paper prepared by the ministers proposed to create a new independent watchdog and legislate for a statutory duty of care for social media firms that could see senior executives held personally liable. "This partnership marks a collective commitment to learn more about the issues, build knowledge through research and insights from users, and implement changes that can ultimately save lives," Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of the Samaritans, was quoted as saying.
Facebook-owned photo-messaging app Instagram started working on restricting on self-harm and suicide content after the platform was accused of playing a catalyst in the suicide case of British teenager Molly Russel who took her life in 2017.