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Samaritans Radar scans your Twitter feed and notifies you of possible cries for help

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The Samaritans charity is best known for its 24-hour helpline, which offers emotional support to anyone that's feeling down in the dumps. With many people, especially youngsters, now broadcasting every intimate detail of their lives on Twitter, the organisation has today released a new tool that'll tell you when anyone you follow looks like they might need you to lend them an ear. Connect your Twitter account with the Samaritans Radar service, and it'll start scanning your feed for key words and phrases -- like "depressed," "help me" and "hate myself" -- that suggest someone's not in the best emotional shape. You'll be notified of any red flags through email alerts, which'll also point you towards resources that offer advice on how you might be able to help that person.

We imagine the algorithm will pick up on a few false positives, though, if one of your friends tweets about how unhappy they are with the amount of choccy dust on their cappuccino, for example. If you're worried about privacy, the charity is keen to point out that Radar won't do anything but read publicly available tweets. The Samaritans aim to expand Radar to other social networks in the future, but there's still one major problem with the service: It can't detect sarcasm, the UK's favourite pastime.

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