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Released under the Access ‘e DY7RALESH 7 -109507-886 Comimuiginsen verde Te Loi str Acces & Briefing on Status of Facebook Safety Feature ISSUE: FNIHB has been engaged with Facebook on the customization of new “safety features” that aim to support individuals who communicate distress or suicidal ideation via the social media platform. While this is generally seen as positive, FNIHB has expressed concerns to Facebook on several occasions about the intuitiveness and appropriateness of the “safety feature” which, at this time, may contribute to stigma around suicide and mental health, and may dissuade individuals from using it. SUMMARY: At the request of the Deputy Minister, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) has been collaborating with Facebook on platform features that support Indigenous suicide prevention and community wellness. FNIHB's role has included providing funding to the We Matter Campaign for the development of a public service announcement (PSA) that raises awareness about Facebook's suicide and self- harm safety feature and provides information about the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line. Facebook's safety feature allows users to anonymously “report” a post or message that communicates distress, suicidal ideation, or self-harm. The post is then reviewed by Facebook, and ~ if deemed necessary ~ Facebook provides resources to the person at risk, including a link to the Hope for Wellness Help Line. FNIHB has communicated to Facebook on multiple occasions its concern that the safety feature may increase stigma around suicide and mental health and may discourage use. ‘* Inorder to “report” a distressing post, users must flag the post as “inappropriate for Facebook”. ‘© The user must go through seven different steps in order to “flag” the post. These different steps require the user to make several non-intuitive decisions, and may inadvertently link suicide and self-harm with threatening behaviour, pornographic images, and bullying, ‘If Facebook finds that a message does not qualify as “distressing,” the user does not receive links to resources. There is a risk that Facebook's methodologies for identifying potential risks may not capture culturally-specific communication. ‘* Once the post has been screened by Facebook, the user who reported the post receives an option to “unfriend”, “unfollow”, or “block” the user who had posted the distressing message. 00046 '8.20(1\(b) Released under the Access ‘e DY7RALESH 7 -109507-886 Comimuiginsen verde Te Loi str Acces & Given that Health Canada and Facebook have developed a relationship around the issue of suicide prevention, and Health Canada’s role in protecting public safety, Health Canada has a role to play in continuing to encourage Facebook to address these safety concerns. Facebook should be advised to engage with FNIHB, PHAC, National Indigenous Organizations, and Indigenous mental health experts to remediate existing concerns, and to support future development of safety features in safe and culturally appropriate ways. BACKGROUND: Health Canada has been engaging with Facebook since April 2017. Both organization have agreed to work together to customize new safety feature on Facebook. As well, FNIHB has been engaging with the We Matter Campaign since December 2016. In 2017-2018, FNIHB provided $69K to We Matter to develop two public service announcements (PSAs) which describe the campaigns and their services, and promote peer support and messages of hope coming from youth. The PSA was launched on September 8", in support of World Suicide Prevention Day. The PSA also promotes the importance of help line services, including the FN/I Hope for Wellness Help Line, and new safety features on Facebook. Facebook Canada is supporting this work by ‘to We Matter for broad and targeted dissemination on the social media platform. Health Canada first flagged concerns regarding the intuitiveness and appropriateness of the safety feature via e-mail in June 2017, worried that it may be perceived negatively or could discourage individuals from using the feature and taken action. An e-mail follow up was done in September using screen shots to describe the issues. This led to a conference call with the Facebook team on September 21°. NEXT STEPS: ‘* Health Canada will continue to engage Facebook in discussions to reduce the lengthy steps to flag alarming post/message. ‘© Health Canada will continue to engage We Matter Campaign as a partner in supporting Indigenous youth mental wellness and building capacity among Indigenous youth. CONTACT PERSON: Jamie Bryan Director of Mental Wellness, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch 613-948-6412 ANNEX 1 - Steps to report an alarming post/message on Facebook 000047