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Instagram curbs self-harm posts after teen suicide

File photo: AFP

Instagram has announced a clampdown on images of self-injury after a British teen who went online to read about suicide took her own life.

The Facebook-owned picture sharing platform’s announcement followed a Thursday meeting between its global chief Adam Mosseri and British Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

British teen Molly Russell took her own life in her bedroom in 2017. The 14-year-old’s social media history revealed that she followed accounts about depression and suicide.

The case sparked a vigorous debate in Britain about parental control and state regulation of children’s social media use.

“It is encouraging to see that decisive steps are now being taken to try to protect children from disturbing content on Instagram,” said Molly’s father Ian Russell.

“It is now time for other social media platforms to take action.”

Molly’s parents did not directly blame Instagram for the loss of their daughter.

But they cited the easy access to such posts as a contributing factor, to which Instagram should respond.

Mosseri said the changes followed a comprehensive review involving experts and academics on children’s mental health issues.

“I joined the company more than 10 years ago and we were primarily focused on all of the good that came out of connecting people,” Mosseri told The Telegraph newspaper.

“But if I am honest we were under-focused on the risks of connecting so many people. That’s a lesson we have learned over the last few years.”

 

 


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