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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Spotting Risky Behavior

 I was struck by this.   What is high risk behavior?  How is it defined, tested, updated?   OK, depression, anxiety or suicide. But at any one time it might be one or another set of beliefs.  Where (obviously) the other is wrong?  Novel, creative, unique can be risky.  Will it get me cancelled?

Spotting High-Risk Behavior OnlineBy Sandrine Ceurstemont,  Commissioned by CACM Staff, January 21, 2021

Posts on social media could conceal clues about mental health problems or high-risk behaviors.

Social media is used widely to share experiences with friends, or to join like-minded communities to discuss common interests. Yet people's posts also could conceal clues about mental health problems or high-risk behaviors that, if recognized early enough, could help save lives.

"Depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors and some disordered eating behaviors are difficult to detect in person and it's unlikely that people are going to go to a clinic because of how stigmatized these conditions are," says Stevie Chancellor, a researcher at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. "If we could use social media data as a way to understand these behaviors, perhaps we could use that information to assist them."

Chancellor and other researchers are investigating how machine learning could be harnessed to identify signs of dangerous behavior on social media. Around half of the world's population, roughly three billion people, now use social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, so there is lots of data available. "It allows us to target a lot more people at a greater level than we've ever been able to before to understand these populations," says Benjamin Ricard, a Ph.D. student at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

Some research is using social media to examine what people write, attempting to predict risky behavior from language used. Another approach involves looking at information related to posts, such as how much information a person shares, at what time of day, and whether that individual's  posting habits have changed. "A common symptom of depression is insomnia, so if your posting history over time starts shifting later, that might indicate that you are struggling with insomnia, which could relate to depression," says Chancellor.  ... "

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