Google under fire for showing rope ads when people search for ‘suicide’

A spokesperson for the charity said: “We have seen social media platforms monetize misery and it is now YouTube and Google that have been discovered doing this, albeit potentially inadvertently.

“The uncontrolled algorithms that drive these platforms can produce terrible effects, which are online damage and can lead people further down the road to suicide.

“That is why the era of self-regulation must end and appropriate and thoughtful government regulation must be urgently introduced to prevent more tragic deaths.”

Meanwhile, Alice Hendy, who lost her 21-year-old brother Josh to suicide in November, called on Google to provide more support and stronger interventions to vulnerable people doing such research.

Currently, Google displays the Samaritans helpline number at the top of suicide-related searches.

However, Ms Hendy, of Fareham near Portsmouth, said the search engine needed to steer people more “forcefully” to help services after her brother died.

Ms. Hendy, a 29-year-old cybersecurity expert, has developed a program called Ripple. The software displays a full screen pop-up when people conduct suicide-related searches that lead directly to a number of mental health helplines and instant messaging services.

She said it was important to present vulnerable researchers with a range of support options, especially for young people who are often more comfortable sending messages than talking on the phone.

Ms Hendy said: “From a personal point of view my brother would not have used a helpline number because he was a 21 year old boy who did not feel comfortable talking to the phone. phone at best.

“He also had tourettes and found it very difficult to use a chat service of any kind. There must be alternatives for the right people.

“If this had been brought up for my brother when he researched (methods of suicide), maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here now.”


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