Man Fakes Suicide to See How Facebook Suicide Preventing Tool Works, Gets Detained

Shane Tusch learned about the authenticity of Facebook’s suicide prevention tools the hard way – What started as an attempt to check if the tool really works ended in landing him in a mental health facility for 70 hours.

About a few weeks ago a 48-year old Facebook user read about the Facebook’s new tool to enhance its suicide prevention strategy by locking out accounts of users having suicidal thoughts after being informed by their friends. To unlock their accounts, suicidal users need to opt for reading Facebook’s suicide prevention materials.

The San Mateo resident Tusch decided to evaluate the work ability of this program by posting about his frustrations regarding his bank and the probable plan of hanging himself at the Golden Gate Bridge. Neither his wife nor his friends knew about this experiment.

Tusch used his real Facebook profile for this experiment. On his Facebook page, Tusch wrote on 25th Feb, “I have decided to take my life in some very public way.”

Man Fakes Suicide to See How Facebook Suicide Preventing Tool Works, Gets Detained
Tush’s post on Facebook about possible suicide attempt
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Unsurprisingly, friends of Tusch became worried and one of them flagged Facebook about his suicidal post. Facebook instantly locked out Tusch’s account on 26th Feb. Another person who viewed this post called the police.

Tusch's friends commenting on his suicidal post on Facebook.
Tusch’s friends commenting on his suicidal post on Facebook.

Later on, Tusch, who is a part-time electrician as well as an activist, was questioned by San Mateo police regarding the suicidal post and he confirmed himself as the writer of that post. However, Tusch also informed police that he wasn’t having suicidal thoughts and had no such plans but he posted his feelings because First Amendment entitled him to do so.

Tusch’s post after visiting the mental health watch center.
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Immediately after, Tusch was handcuffed and taken to a mental health watch for around 70 hours.

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