After the death of the British teenager Molly Russell in 2017, who committed suicide after seeing images related to suicide both on Instagram and on Pinterest, the well-known photographic social network now prohibits self-injury drawings and memes.
The platform, after taking measures against phishing, expands the concept of user security by requiring the prohibition of graphic content, such as cartoons, memes and photos, with scenes related to self-injury. "We will no longer allow", explain the Instagram leadership, imaginary representations of self-harm or that recall the subject of suicide on Instagram, such as drawings, memes or content in films or comics that use such images.
The official blog post also states that the network also removes other images that may not show scenes of self-harm or suicide, but could include elements related to self-harm and suicide.
The company also stated that the accounts that share content related to suicide and self-harm will no longer be recommended in the research or will be penalized in exploration; instead, accounts that share resources for suicide prevention, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, will be promoted.
In February, the company announced that it would fight self-defeating images, hiding them because of its highly sensitive content. According to the World Health Organization, around 800,000 people die each year from suicide, which has become the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 29 years.
In the United States, youth suicide increased by 56% in the last decade. Experts suggest that social media platforms could help counter this trend by monitoring accounts and running online awareness programs, training both young people and adults to recognize alarm bells in peers.
Nothing more important to me than the safety of people who use Instagram, especially the most vulnerable. Suicide and self-injury are difficult and complex subjects. there are many opinions on the best way to deal with them – but they matter a lot and for ME, as a parent, they hit the mark.
With these words, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, introduces the ban on images related to self-injury on his social media.