Facebook & Twitter Are Rolling Out New Features to Protect Your Mental Health
Haters gonna hate—but you shouldn't have to deal with them
Beyoncé, T-Swift, and many others would agree that "haters gonna hate," and that's just the way it goes. (Just ask these celebs who shut down social media body-shamers like it's their job.)
But while there's not much you can do to stop people from trolling IRL, Facebook and Twitter are taking steps to make social media a safer, less troll-y, traumatic place for your mental health. (ICYMI YouTube and Instagram are making an effort too.)
Twitter has been rolling out anti-harassment features on the reg; in February they launched a "safe search" feature, an effort to stop the creation of new abusive accounts, and to hide or collapse abusive or low-quality tweets. Today, they announced the latest in their crusade against the haters: they're working to proactively shut down abusive accounts before they're reported and have new filtering options that let you mute certain keywords, phrases, or entire conversations, as well as users without photos or unverified phone numbers or email addresses.
Facebook is taking an important step in cyber-safety as well; today they rolled out a collection of suicide prevention tools that will help identify at-risk users, offer real-time support, and enhance post-reporting features. Users will be able to directly contact crisis support partners (including Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) via Facebook Messenger. If you're watching a Facebook Live and see someone at-risk, you'll have the ability to easily contact a helpline, report the video to Facebook, or reach out to the person directly with on-hand resources (like conversation starters) to help you provide the necessary support. Facebook has also streamlined the process of reporting a post suggesting suicide or self-harm, including an artificial intelligence approach to recognizing these types of posts and having a Community Operations team on-hand to respond faster than ever.
Obv, in the case of a crisis, calling an emergency number is the best bet-but these Facebook tools can help guide people towards the right kind of support and teach others how to help people in need. At the very least, Twitter's continuous attention towards blocking harassment and Facebook's more supportive atmosphere should help combat some of the negative mental health effects of social media.