Facebook can be a great tool for communication. At PAPYRUS, it allows us to spread our messages of HOPE to thousands of people at the click of a button. Every day on Facebook people are connecting with friends and sharing their stories.

However, there are times you may see content that isn’t appropriate, content that you may find worrying and upsetting. Often, knowing what to do when you see such content, and how best to access the right support, can make all the difference and can help someone stay safe. You may be thousands of miles away from this person but through Facebook you can help keep them safe.

Facebook has a feature that allows you to easily and quickly report concerning or inappropriate content that goes against their Community Standards guidelines. There are many reasons why you might report a post to Facebook such as; pornographic content, abusive speech, or false news. You can also report a post to Facebook if you are concerned that a person posting content about suicide or self-injury may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Here’s a list of reasons why you might report a post to Facebook:

  • Nudity
  • Violence
  • Harassment
  • Suicide and self-injury
  • False news
  • Spam
  • Unauthorised sales
  • Hate speech
  • Terrorism

Suicide or Self-injury

In an effort to promote a safe environment on the platform, Facebook removes content that encourages suicide or self-injury. This includes content that promotes, encourages or provides instructions for suicide, self-injury, eating disorders, or content that depicts graphic self-injury imagery.

How to report – step by step

If you are concerned that you’ve seen content that could indicate someone is having thoughts of suicide you can report their post anonymously from your own Facebook account.

  1. Click on the post you are concerned about and click on the three dot ‘menu’
  2. Click ‘Find support or report post’
  3. You then need to select a problem to continue. You can choose from a list of issues, including ‘suicide or self-injury’. You are reminded at this point that if you think someone is in immediate danger, you should call the local emergency services.
  4. Click on ‘suicide or self-injury’ and press send.

What happens next?

When something gets reported to Facebook, Facebook reviews the related post and removes anything that contravenes their Community Standards. Reporting a post is anonymous and Facebook doesn’t include any information about the person who filed the report when they reach out to the account reported.

For posts with verbal or written admissions of engagement in self-injury (including suicide, euthanasia, self-harm or eating disorders) Facebook will provide suicide prevention resources.

Facebook suggest if you are in contact with the person, you might want to recommend a helpline or call one yourself to get advice and support. If you are worried about a young person, you could recommend HOPELINE247 where our advisers can provide confidential support and practical advice on how they can stay safe from suicide. You can also phone our helpline yourself to ask for advice on supporting someone. You can phone HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text on 88247, or email on pat@papyrus-uk.org.

Once you have reported the post, Facebook also suggests some other steps you can take.

  • You can learn how to talk to the person you’re worried about by seeing tips from suicide prevention experts about what to say and how to help.
  • You can also ask Facebook to take a closer look at the post you have reported. If you think Facebook should know about the post, they would like to take a look at it as soon as possible and offer advice and support to the person you are worried about. Your name will be kept confidential.
  • You are also reminded again at this point that if you think someone is in immediate danger, call the local emergency services.

Every day, many interactions are taking place on Facebook as people from across the globe connect with one another. Knowing how to support someone who may be struggling, or what to do if you are concerned about someone’s welfare, can help to save lives.

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