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Instagram to ban self-harm images after Molly Russell outcry

Tragic:
Molly
Russell,
14, took
her own
life after
looking at
self-harm
images
online PICTURE: PA

INSTAGRAM is to ban graphic self-harm images after the site was blamed for the suicide of teenager Molly Russell.

It is also going to make non-graphic content about self-harming much harder for users to find.

The Facebook-owned social media site has faced an outcry after Ian Russell, father of 14-year-old Molly, claimed it ‘helped kill my daughter’.

Boss Adam Mosseri yesterday said: ‘We’re going to change our policy to not allow any graphic images of self-harm.’

The announcement came as Mr Mosseri met health secretary Matt Hancock, who last week warned social media firms they could be banned if they failed to remove harmful material.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Mosseri, 30, said it was the site’s responsibility to address the issue ‘as quickly as we can’.

He said Instagram would also remove self-harm terms and content from its ‘explore’ and ‘search’ functions. Instagram is also planning to blur self-harm content and put it behind a privacy screen so users cannot access it accidentally.

It will also increase the help it provides for those who share their experience.

The moves follow the death of Molly, from north-west London, who took her life after viewing self-harm images on Instagram.

Culture secretary Jeremy Wright is expected to soon announce plans for a regulator with powers to force social media companies to take down illegal material such as violence and child abuse within fixed time periods and to purge harmful but legal content such as cyberbullying and self-harm imagery.