San Mateo’s Shane Tusch decided to test Facebook’s new suicide prevention system by posting a fake notice that he planned to kill himself, according to SF Gate. He was promptly locked out of his Facebook account and forced to read through mental health education materials to open it, and was later arrested by police and detained in a psychiatric hospital for 70 hours.
“He faults Facebook for what happened, adding that the social network should stay out of evaluating whether people are suicidal,” reported SF Gate. “It should be left to family and friends,” Tusch told the newspaper. “There’s too many areas for this to be misinterpreted by what people post.”
SF Gate reported that, “San Mateo police said Facebook didn’t call them about Tusch, but they did not identify who did.”
In light of the case, Consumer Watchdog has called for Facebook to “suspend the suicide prevention program until it is fully protective of the rights of all individuals and contains safeguards against abuse.”
“Some suicide prevention experts supported Facebook’s efforts,” stated SF Gate. “It’s usually not a good idea to joke about killing yourself, they said.”
A man’s fake Facebook suicide post gets him detained (SF Gate, March 14, 2015)
Facebook’s New Suicide Prevention Program Leads To False Imprisonment Of Man In Mental Institution; Consumer Watchdog Calls For Suspension Until Safeguards In Place (Consumer Watchdog, March 12, 2015)