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by Jake Middleton (republished with permission from ruggedamericangear.com)

If you haven’t been paying attention recently, Big Brother Facebook and their “safety” team are now going to be stepping through your computer screen and into your home. In case you missed it, the new policy is in its entirety below . . .

“Keeping you safe is our most important responsibility on Facebook.

Today, at our fifth Compassion Research Day, we announced updated tools that provide more resources, advice and support to people who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts and their concerned friends and family members.

We worked with mental health organizations Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org and others on these updates, in addition to consulting with people who had lived experience with self-injury or suicide.

One of the first things these organizations discussed with us was how much connecting with people who care can help those in distress.
If someone on Facebook sees a direct threat of suicide, we ask that they contact their local emergency services immediately.

We also ask them to report any troubling content to us. We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review any report that comes in. They prioritize the most serious reports, like self-injury, and send help and resources to those in distress.

For those who may need help we have significantly expanded the support and resources that are available to them the next time they log on to Facebook after we review a report of something they’ve posted. Besides encouraging them to connect with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, we now also give them the option of reaching out to a friend, and provide tips and advice on how they can work through these feelings. All of these resources were created in conjunction with our clinical and academic partners.

We’re also providing new resources and support to the person who flagged the troubling post, including options for them to call or message their distressed friend letting them know they care, or reaching out to another friend or a trained professional at a suicide hotline for support.

These updates will roll out to everyone who uses Facebook in the U.S. over the next couple of months. We’re also working to improve our tools for those outside the U.S.”(italics added)–Rob Boyle, Facebook Product Manager & Nicole Staubli, Facebook Community Operations Safety Specialist

So what’s the problem, you ask? Why isn’t this a good thing? If it saves just one life, it will be worth it! Wrong, and here is why….

Firstly, Facebook’s new suicide reporting tool is a violation of your First Amendment right to free speech. It’s YOUR Facebook feed, say what you want on it. That doesn’t mean that if you write nasty stuff about your boss and they see it, you won’t get in trouble. But it does mean that you can say it. Facebook doesn’t block and deal with all of the nasty racist, anti-semitic, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-rich, anti-vaccination or anti-anything else…so why this?

As well, every single one of us has had a bad day. We’ve gone home, or onto our cell phone and typed out these exact words: “Today couldn’t get any worse, I’m at my breaking point,” or “Rough day…sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it,” or “Life sucks, just got fired…what the point of waking up tomorrow?”

If you can honestly say you’ve never typed any of those things, or something close to them, then kudos. Good for you. But I know every single person on my Facebook feed has.

Well, now when one of your “friends” or your friend’s friend, or your friend’s friend friend sees this, they can hit a little “report” button, which sends one of several different notices to Big Brother Facebook. At which point Facebook decides whether to send a friendly little message to them, or even call the authorities to “check” on the person.

Excuse me? call the local authorities? This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a long time. Lets take a peek at Facebook’s video on the topic:

Did you catch the part about how if Facebook (our Motherland, if you will /sarc) deems an “imminent threat,” they will notify “local law enforcement to do a welfare check.” If you still think this is a good idea, let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios that could play out.

Scenario 1:

On the way home from work you get into a car accident. Frustrated you send a Facebook status update “Ahh my life sucks, car is totaled!!!!! might as well just give up.” Your friend, or your ex boyfriend/girlfriend, or someone who is mad at you reports you. It could even be someone who is genuinely worried, but it doesn’t matter. Facebook deems it an “Imminent threat” and by the time you get home the police are there to “check” on you.

Problematic for you yet? Let’s say you live in California, which has a law now that lets a gun owners firearms be confiscated “to allow concerned family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO).

In situations where there is sufficient evidence for a judge to believe that an individual poses a danger to self or others, the GVRO will “temporarily prohibit the individual from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession.”

This means that one “concerned” acquaintance on Facebook could (if you are a gun owner) end up having your firearms taken away for no reason, and infringe on your second amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Scenario 2:

Ever heard of Swatting? it started with online gaming. Calling a bomb threat or hostage situation in on a fellow gamer, and recording the SWAT team taking them down. This new Facebook policy seems like prime real estate for some new types of swatting activity.

Facebook accounts get hacked all the time. Who is to stop someone from hacking you, then posting all sorts of suicidal thoughts to get you reported? I could go on and on with different scenarios, but there will always be people who say “If it saves just one person it’s worth it”

But I’m sorry that just isn’t the truth. We don’t live in a “for the greater good” society. We live in America, and in American you have the freedom to say what you want, when you want it. That doesn’t mean that you have freedom of consequences of what you say. But saying something on Facebook that is about YOUR life shouldn’t have you worried that the police will show up at your door.

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70 Responses to Facebook’s New Suicide Reporting Policy a Threat to Gun Rights

    • Gossip, gossip, and more gossip!
      If you want to know what your 15 year old daughter is taking for her STD, that’s the place to look!

    • This. No reason to have a personal Facebook page (though a business page can make sense still depending on circumstances).

      • This is just one of the MANY reasons I will never have an FB account. Nor Twitter. Or LinkedIn, or ANY of the other “free” surveillance technologies out there.

        What’s the point? No one cares if I went to lunch, shopped at place X, saw a money riding a horse or farted. Freakin’ waste of time.

        The friends I want and/or need have my back, not my Thumbs Up.

        Geez.

      • I hate when businesses have only Facebook pages. There’s times when I can’t get info I need about them because I DON’T have an account. If I can get it somewhere else, I most definitely do.

    • I’m not sure why people still use Fail Book…I mean Farce Book…I mean…You know what I mean. I’ve never had, probably never will. Can’t wait for it to go the way of MySpace.

      • As much I would love to hope FB will go away, I hate to tell you, it won’t. It has inculcated an entire generation and regardless of their occasion disillusion, they ain’t going anywhere. Except deeper.

        More significantly, it has insinuated itself into everyday life. Our common former belief in privacy has been mostly eliminated – now employers and everyone else somehow has business getting into your business. FB is a beautiful tool for the police, CIA, FBI, DEA and NSA. They’ll never let it go.

        Job applicants at the lower rungs are now looked at with suspicion if they avoid social media. And employers believe they actually have some right to know what you say and do on your time off. Credit agencies are already developing algos to judge your credit worthiness based on your social media interactions. The scariest part is the “pre-crime” algos, the ones the gov has a ton of research resources thrown at. Yes, of course, “it’s to keep us safe from terrorists”. And if you believe it stops there, I have a bridge to sell you.

  1. Not on facebook, don’t plan on being. Only exception might be if my kids move some distance away so I can view what they post.

    As far as free speech– it’s their system not yours, you get to use it free (is it still free?) under their terms of use. Just like posting on this website- don’t like their terms, don’t use their system.

    If the service is free, you are the product.

    • One million times this!

      Facebook isn’t the product, YOU ARE THE PRODUCT. If that hasn’t occurred to you yet, you might as well be a dairy cow. At least be aware that you’re being milked every second you spend on that platform.

  2. Hmmm…time to get off fakebook? Or microsoft,apple,yahoo,bing,google or…hide all your stuff down by the river…big brother’s been here for awhile.

  3. Well, no, you do not really have any reasonable expectation of privacy on Facebook. If you say something on Facebook, you should expect the same reaction as if you went into a mall food court and said the same thing over a loud speaker to 850 of your closest acquaintances.

    Simple trick: If you don’t want something to be misinterpreted, stay off Facebook and other social media.

    The Truth About Facebook, really, is that we don’t actually care about your status updates anyway.

    To be honest, reading through the policy, this seems more like something the lawyers requested for liability purposes, not something that will have a huge effect.

    • Thanks for saying it — Facebook is not a state actor, and so has no obligation to “allow” you freedom of expression.

      As for all of you FB haters (and there’s plenty to hate), Facebook is only the tip of the iceberg. Emails, texts, even comments on TTAG — eventually, you leave a digital footprint. The key is being smart and deliberate about it, because you won’t avoid it any more than you will using a credit card.

    • Small error in spelling SOCIALIST media not social. All of these things like linkedin, twitter facebook and paypal take every bit of digital footprint you leave and sell the information. Businesses that only use FB don’t want mine. I have regular credit cards but use the prepaid reload at a cash register for 99% of purchases since some places now only take cards. All those little plastic disçount cards from grocery stores sell the shopping patterns of michael hunt mike to them I use a prepaid cell phone paid with a reloadable card. Been part of the government I know what they are capable of. These days what used to be called paranoia is called protective of privacy & rights. My wifes ex & his current wife stole our identities and ran up over $300 thousand in debts in our names and SSN and every company refused to prosecute he has since gone on to others using Spokeo all from people that are his “friends” on facebook after 5 years of data mining from that source he still has not been prosecuted.

  4. No. Facebook is NOT violating your 1A rights. Facebook is NOT a public entity; it’s private. As a user, you agree to their terms of use policy and what that entails.

    If people of the gun do not like a policy of theirs, let it be known to them. If they are ignorant of that, drop it like a wet sack of bricks.

    • Ahhh. But now the government will be regulating the internet. The use of which is necessary for the use of Facebook. That makes your postings on Facebook a vital interest to the government.
      .

      .

      • Once again… whether something has shares traded on the stock market (the meaning of ‘publicly traded’) has NOTHING to do with this. It does not make it a ‘public entity’ as it relates to the Constitution. The only difference it makes is if YOU happen to own shares of the stock you might have a voice in its policies.

        Stop digging.

  5. Firstly, Facebook’s new suicide reporting tool is a violation of your First Amendment right to free speech. It’s YOUR Facebook feed, say what you want on it.

    BZZ Wrong answer. Your Facebook feed is FACEBOOK’s Facebook feed. You don’t own it. You’re using their property, they can do with it as they please. Don’t like it? Don’t use it! Free market capitalism.

  6. not on “FakeBook” utter BS attention whore site. Old school. If ya know me and are REALLY my friends you know what I’m up too. Same goes for all the other internet crap. twitter,instagram etc. It’s just another marketing tool disgusied as “social media” don’t like that term as well. I just LOVE the idiots that go on vacation and post pics and crap. Yeah, that means your not home……….and your 16 year old daughter is alone as well. Fuc*ing Idiots.

    • YES!!!!!! This is the kind of asymmetric warfare I can grok!!!!!! Go after ALL of the America haters using social media with their own weapons and tactics. We should flood their “hotlines” with reports of our concern for the welfare of the people posting all this anti-American crap. Ralph? You are f**king brilliant, you magnificent bastard!!!!!!

  7. For a website that bitches incessantly about how constitutionally illiterate gun grabbers are to turn around and claim Facebook (a private entity) doing this is a violation of your 1st Amendment rights is utterly embarrassing and TTAG should be ashamed of themselves. First off, you are saying this in Facebook’s digital property. First Amendment concerns do not apply.

    If you were standing around in, say, WalMart, saying your life sucked and you wanted it to be over….and there called the po-po…that is *also* not a violation of your first amendment rights.

    • Spot on.

      “It’s YOUR Facebook feed, say what you want on it.”

      Wrong. It’s Facebook’s Facebook feed, they’re just letting you use it in exchange for allowing them to intrusively data-mine your activities and sell that information to the highest bidder.

      TTAG’s not having a good run this past week or so. Lots of garbage lately. Get it together, guys…

    • I’m afraid they put the cat in the bag, to get out on some future date. Suppose another dirty capitalist starts “freebook,” same thing as fb but no big brother. How many suicides before mawms against freedom demand a federal law? How long until the ladies on the View screech for mandatory, federal big brother? Between this and net neutrality, you should be seeing some pretty clear social engineering,by now.

  8. Ok…so…first of all.
    1. Facebook is a private network. You don’t have any more free speech there than you do in someone else’s house. They can control what content you post, and because you agree to their terms of service, they can do pretty much what they want with the content that you put on their servers. If you don’t like that, stop using the service they don’t charge you for.

    2. Facebook has as much right as any other entity to report something to law enforcement. They aren’t a government entity, so that’s all they can do…report it. After a few hundred thousand false alarms, law enforcement will pay very little attention to reports they get from Facebook unless the company can give some sort of credible evidence that warrants an investigation. The size and popularity of Facebook works against them in this case because the will be hundreds of times more false positives than actual cases of merit…and law enforcement is like any other government entity when it comes to bureaucracy…fundamentally lazy.

    3. Unless you have your profile set to public, there’s no way anyone other than your group of friends can see what you are posting…be it positive or negative. Unless you are a business or promoting a business, there is no reason to have a public profile, so the only way senario 1 or 2 can possibly happen is if you are either a celebrity, a business who needs a public profile, or an idiot who posts private thoughts on a public forum without thought to consequence.

  9. I have to agree. Your Facebook feed is not your own. The moment you agree to their TOS you are voluntarily surrendering your right to privacy and freedom of speech. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. If you use it don’t be a drama queen.

  10. Firstly, Facebook’s new suicide reporting tool is a violation of your First Amendment right to free speech. It’s YOUR Facebook feed, say what you want on it.

    That is not true at all. The first amendment, like all constitutional restrictions, prevents the government from limiting a behavior, not private parties from setting limits on their interactions. The first amendment actually protects your right to freely associate with Facebook (or not associate with them).
    It is their server hosting the data. You provide the data for them to host. They are completely within their rights to analyze that data as described in the user agreement. If you don’t like it, quit using Facebook.

  11. It’s why I never say anything about my personal self on FB or social channels. If I’m having a bad day I talk to my friends or my girlfriend about it. I don’t need 9000 different pop-psychologists picking my brain apart.

    Most of my social traffic is professionally-oriented or feel-good photos of sunrises. Occasionally I’ll post a picture of a nice firearm I see, but that’s rare. I’ve found, as much as I want to post a photo of me doing well at the range, it leads to a lot of garbage discussion. My gun and political talk are done under fan/business page aliases.

  12. Step 1: delete Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media BS accounts are out there.

    Step 2: don’t go back.

    Step 3: relax and enjoy your life knowing that those people don’t matter to you, and vice versa.

  13. There have been several instances of people being saved/ rescued by others using facebook as a call out to people in the area. especially with all the returning vets. Can it be abused? Yeah . In the california case its the law thats bad not facebook. Check out the ASMDSS page/site and see how facebook helped out some vets.

  14. No, its not YOUR Facebook feed. It belongs to Facebook. They make the rules and control all content. Dont like it? Dont use it.

  15. One more disturbing Facebook development…..and I swear……I’ll bump my never-going-to-use-it policy up to never-EVER-going-to-use-it. Then again, not being a teenage girl, it all seems irrelevant to me, anyway. Update that, Suckerberg!

  16. This is a stupid article. Using facebook isn’t a right, it’s a product. It’s called a facebook account, not a bill of rights account. There are no terms of service for the bill of rights, but facebook can do whatever they want, because it’s their product you are agreeing to use.

  17. If you’re dumb enough to put stupid things like that on facebook, it’s hard to feel too sorry for you.

    Bad things happen to dumb people.

    • It’s NOT Ray…or Apple or microsoft or anything digital:see Captain America:The Winter Soldier.

  18. “Firstly, Facebook’s new suicide reporting tool is a violation of your First Amendment right to free speech. It’s YOUR Facebook feed, say what you want on it. ”

    That’s not how this works…That’s not how any of this works.

    C’mon guys…wth is this??

    • Exactly. This post is stupid as hell. Facebook is a private company that allows people to use their service as long as they abide by the rules they set. The first amendment doesn’t apply there, just like it doesn’t apply in the comments here, or on Reddit, or on any other private website on the internet.The first amendment only applies to the government. If the powers that be on a website don’t like what you have to say, they can remove it. If you don’t like it then don’t use it, it’s that simple.

  19. That’s why I don’t say things like that on Facebook. I watch stand up comedy on youtube instead.

    However you’re wrong on it being YOUR feed, and it’s contradictory to your policy of policing abusing comments here, after all, it’s MY comment, right? Just as TTAG is your press, Facebook is Facebook’s press, unless they enter into a legally binding contract that prohibits them from doing such things.

    However, the right to free speech isn’t just a concept that limits legislative authority, for a society to function freely, that freedom must be respected by other private citizens who have an obligation not to punish others for speech they disagree with, like getting the Mozilla CEO fired through harassment.

    Lets stop pretending that Facebook is for private conversations between friends. Posting something like your examples on Facebook is similar to saying it openly around not just friends, family but also casual acquaintances, treat it as such. Saying such things in a setting like that would cause me to be alarmed for the individual, however I would not simply call authorities out of a fear they might attempt suicide, doing so is basically saying “it’s not my problem to deal with” which is essentially the same as “eh, we’re not that close as friends anyway.”

    • “. . . for a society to function freely, that freedom must be respected by other private citizens who have an obligation not to punish others for speech they disagree with, . . .”
      .st
      Absolutly incorrect, Sir!
      .
      Even though there is no law preventing it, as a private citizen and bar owner, if you use foul language in my bar, i can refuse you service and insist that you leave and if necessary, use physical forcé to see that you do..
      It is society’s way of correcting your behavour, not a violation of your 1st Ammendment rights.

  20. I know this was reprinted and not written specifically for TTAG but… wow, it probably shouldn’t have been. Someone so ignorant of the Constitution shouldn’t be talking about it.

  21. Does TTAG still use Facebook?

    Yes they do. So stop crying about how anti Facebook is or get off of Facebook.

  22. I don’t go into detail about what’s going on in my personal life, at least when it comes to my feelings or difficult times in my life. And no matter how bad things get in my life, thoughts of suicide have never crossed my mind. I mainly get on facebook to joke around and otherwise keep in touch with friends and family. Actual friends and family, mind you, not random people I met on facebook. I think I have 20 friends on fb. I had way more from when I played games, but I don’t anymore, so I deleted a ton.

  23. Shannon Watts is obsessed with guns. Shannon Watts calls people bad names. Shannon Watts and Mike Bloomberg were forced to apologize for lying about guns. Mike is being sued for saying bad things about people with guns.
    Shannon and Mike even threatened to destroy some people with guns. Or make others lose their jobs.
    Mike is are being sued. All Mike mayor friends are leaving, and un-liking him now.

    Shannon and Mike must be sad. Probably very sad. That is bad.

    Sad with guns very Bad. Bad, Shannon, Bad Mike.
    Call your doctor or FakeBook will do it for you, by a friendly policeman ride to the hospital.

    Like, Like, Like, buy lots of Likes. Look, see how likes and sad equals more bad. Link link link.
    Soon the FakeBook mood police will be watching closely.

    The FakeBook online shrinks say its only safe to call the cops. This makes FakeBook sad. But good.
    See the nice police take Shannon away. Good police. Bad sad Shannon.

    • if you go into facebook with the knowledge that anything you post will probably, at some point by either accident or on purpose, be made public then it’s a non-issue. I only friend people that I know in person and if anyone brings any drama they get booted…It’s what you make of it and what you let it be.

  24. …in addition to consulting with people who had lived experience with suicide.
    Impressive, even for Facebook.

  25. You have no 1A on facebook. Facebook is facebook’s platform, you are their guest.

    Facebook cannot censor. Only the government can.

    That technicality corrected, strange oversights they have there. I don’t care to participate.

  26. I am just not into Fascist Book. Where else can the government monitor you while you voluntarily feed them the information that they lust for? This get up is even better than the surveillance system that they had in Oceania.

  27. A couple of points: Facebook cannot your First Amendment rights. They aren’t the government. Your page is on their property so make the rules. Second, NSA is only going to spy on yoU and for most you out there they don’t give a flying F about you. Facebook is going to sell you to the highest bidder and try to run your life. They will also turn your data over to the Democratsic National Committee. Who do you supplied all that data to mine over to the Obama campaign. I trust NSA a lot more than Facebook.

  28. Why you people still use Facebook is beyond me. I’m proud to say I’ve never posted a damned thing on that awful site. I’m not some backwards old person who doesn’t get tech. In fact, I’m a Silicon Valley software engineer who’s told Facebook recruiters to shove it on multiple occasions.

    Have fun being part of their facial recognition database and having them track you on every website you visit. I’ve never trusted those shady bastards and neither should you.

  29. So I love TTAG, yet at times you guys post pieces that just come off as absolutely idiotic. firstly this is one, there was no mention of them contacting police and from everything I’ve read and seen, this will essentially just give you a message of “hey, this person is worried about you, here are some options”. Those options will include messaging the person, some suicide resources etc.

    Secondly facebook can do whatever they want with your posts, its their website and your first ammendment doesn’t apply there, both because the bill of rights for the most part only apply to government, and secondly because since they own the website, any freedom of speech is allowed at their discretion.

    Sure in some shitty states this could degrade to the level of firearms confiscation but that would have to happen through the friend or psychologist( which you don’t have to contact if you dont want to!) calling the police.

    Lets try and keep TTAG on track guys, its a blog about guns and gun rights, too often I see the author’s use mass generalization and ad homonym attacks, the very things they call their oposition out on.

  30. With my dark sense of humor, awareness of current events, and my undying patriotism and devotion to the founding principles of this country, I can say with great pride that I must be on at least one Obama watch list already. I do not avoid facebook because the government is listening, I avoid it because I would rather spend that time on the range. 🙂

  31. Use this new “policy” against the America haters on FB. Its for their “safety”! Do the same with the other social media sh*t, er, sites. Use the enemies tactics and weapons against them, otherwise they win.

  32. Firstly, Facebook’s new suicide reporting tool is a violation of your First Amendment right to free speech. It’s YOUR Facebook feed, say what you want on it.

    Really RF,? You don’t seem to know anything about the constitution and rights. You should delete this whole boondoggle you wrote and try again when you grasp the constitution beyond the level of 16 year old C- civics student.

    • This was re-posted from another site as stated at the beginning of the post.

      “by Jake Middleton (republished with permission from ruggedamericangear.com)”

      But RF should’ve at least read the article before re-posting.

  33. Robert, you know good and well that this has nothing to do with free speech as promised in the constitution. Facebook isn’t the government.

    You voluntarily use Facebook or you don’t. You control who can see your posts. You control what you post.

    Don’t want Facebook doing this to you, don’t use it. If there is legislation that is problematic, let’s fix it. Let’s not go down the road of screaming and crying over what Facebook does and use implications of bad legislation as part of our argument.

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