Facebook and The Trevor Project hope to help prevent LGBTQ youth suicides

Facebook has been working to make users feel safer on the platform for years, and in its latest effort to enhance the online community, the social media platform partnered with The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

On Tuesday in the middle of Mental Health Awareness month Facebook announced that users will be able to connect with mental health resourcesfromThe Trevor Project right from their direct messages. The project rolls out over the next few months.

According to The Trevor Project’s website, the rate of suicide attempts is “four times greater for LGB youth and two times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth,” so it’s clear how helpful access to a supportive chat bot could be. And though The Trevor Project is aimed at helping suicide prevention in young people, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 40 percent of transgender adult respondents reportedly made a suicide attempt during their lives, so Facebook users of all ages could certainly benefit from the helpful resource.

The messenger crisis support will also expand awareness to other areas of the mental heath community with the help of participating organizations likeCrisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The social media site recently received a great deal of backlash surrounding the spread of live-streamed suicide videos and earlier this month after a violent video of a Cleveland man shooting and killing a 74-year-old man was posted to the site founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted more human intervention is necessary on the site to ensure the safety of users.

The site also collaborated with mental health organizations back in 2016 to launch tools and resources aimed at supporting the mental health community. Users now have easily accessible support groups along with the ability to report concerning posts related to self-injury or suicide directly to Facebook.

Back in March the site was even testing a pattern recognition system that would use AI to identify posts that include certain keywords pertaining to suicidal thoughts.

Studies have shown that excessive social media us could increase levels of depression, so the more resources the better.

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/17/facebook-lgbtq-trevor-project/

YouTube says it fixed the problem with Restricted Mode that was filtering LGBTQ+ content

YouTube today claims to have fixed an issue with its service that was causing it to incorrectly filter content in Restricted Mode andhiding a large selectionof LGBTQ+ videosas a result. The company had come under fire last month when it was discovered that users who turned on Restricted Mode a setting that allows YouTube users to filter out the sites more mature content were no longer able to see a number of innocuous videos referencing same-sex relationships.

The intention of Restricted Mode is to offer a more family-friendly version of YouTube thathides videos that include adult content including those that focus on subjects like health, politics and sexuality that arent appropriate for children.

But the feature was not working properly, having gone so far as to hide videos like a wedding ceremony,for example.

One YouTuber, Rowan Ellis, posted a video about the issue titled YouTube is Anti-LGBT?to bring attention to the problem, and hashtags like #YouTubeRestricted and #YouTubeIsOver erupted across Twitter as more users began reporting their own videos were also hidden, along with others about LGBTQ+ topics.

YouTube in Marchadmitted and apologized for the error, addressing the community via a blog post that explained how Restricted Mode works. There, it promised to do a full audit of its systems to see whatwas going wrong.

The company said at the time that the feature isnt working the way it should, and added were sorry and were going to fix it.

Today, YouTube says it has completed its investigation and fixed an issue on the engineering side that was incorrectly filtering videos.

As a result, 12 million additional videos are now available in Restricted Mode, including hundreds of thousands featuring LGBTQ+ content.

It has also addressed another issue with YouTubes flagging system, and is now offering a form that allows creators and viewers to alert YouTube when a video is inappropriately excluded from Restricted Mode via itsautomated systems. That way, if a similar problem occurs again even in other categories of videos users and creators have a formal meansof reaching YouTube.

The new blog post details how and when videos are filtered in general, explaining that it removes videoscontaining discussions of drug use and abuse, detailed conversations about sex and sexuality, graphic violence or events relatedto terrorism, war, crime and political conflicts that resulted in death or serious injury.

In the area of sex and sexuality, YouTube says that it will allow some educational, straightforward conversations about sexual education in Restricted Mode, but admits this is a particularly difficult category to filter.

The problem on this front is broader than YouTube filtering LBGTQ+ content, in some cases, because parents have varying viewpoints (particularly in the U.S.) about how much educational material aboutsex a child should have access to at all just seethe ongoing controversies about sex education in schools as an example.

The company does not detail what engineering problem was incorrectly flagging videos, but it does lay out a vision statement for how it wants Restricted Mode to operate.

It says, simply, that YouTube Restricted Modeshould not filter out content belonging to individuals or groups based on certain attributes like gender, gender identity, political viewpoints, race, religion or sexual orientation.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/21/youtube-says-it-fixed-the-problem-with-restricted-mode-that-was-filtering-lgbtq-content/