Instagram will not allow any graphic images of self-harm on its platform following pressure from parents of suicide victims.
The move comes after a demand that social media companies “purge” their platforms of content that promotes self-harm and suicide, made by the family of 14-year-old Molly Russell.
Molly’s family discovered she had been viewing graphic images of self-harm on the platform before taking her own life.
Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said in a blog post on Thursday that “nothing is more important to us than the safety of people in our community”.
“Over the past month we have seen that we are not where we need to be on self-harm and suicide, and that we need to do more to keep the most vulnerable people who use Instagram safe.”
After a comprehensive review with global experts and academics on youth, mental health and suicide prevention, the company have decided to clamp down on graphic images of self-harm.
Mr Mosseri continued: “We will not allow any graphic images of self-harm, such as cutting on Instagram – even if it would previously have been allowed as admission.
We have never allowed posts that promote or encourage suicide or self harm, and will continue to remove it when reported.
“We will not show non-graphic, self-harm related content – such as healed scars – in search, hashtags and the explore tab, and we won’t be recommending it.”
However Mr Mosseri added that Instagram will not be removing this type of content “entirely” as it wants to support people who need help.
“We don’t want to stigmatize or isolate people who may be in distress and posting self-harm related content as a cry for help,” the blog post continued.
“We want to support people in their time of need – so we are also focused on getting more resources to people posting and searching for self-harm related content and directing them to organisations that can help.”
Instagram said its aim is to eventually remove all self-harm and suicide imagery from hashtags, search the explore tab or as recommended content.