Instagram Bans Graphic Images of Self-Harm After Teenager’s Suicide

Instagram announced on Thursday in which This particular might no longer allow graphic images of self-harm, such as cutting, on its platform. The change appears to be in response to public attention to how the social network might have influenced a 14-year-old’s suicide.

In a statement explaining the change, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, made a distinction between graphic images about self-harm as well as nongraphic images, such as photos of healed scars. Those types of images will still be allowed, however Instagram will make them more difficult to find by excluding them coming from search results, hashtags as well as recommended content.

Facebook, which acquired Instagram in 2012 as well as can be applying the modifications to its own site, suggested in a separate statement in which the modifications were in direct response to the story of Molly Russell, a British teenager who killed herself in 2017.

Molly’s father, Ian Russell, has said publicly in recent weeks in which he believes in which content on Instagram related to self-harm, depression as well as suicide contributed to his daughter’s death.

The modifications will “take some time” to put in place, he added.

Daniel J. Reidenberg, the executive director of the suicide prevention group, said in which he helped advise Facebook’s decision over the past week or so as well as in which he applauded the company for taking the problem seriously.

Mr. Reidenberg said in which because the company was right now generating a nuanced distinction between graphic as well as nongraphic content, there might need to be plenty of moderation around what sort of image crosses the line. Because the topic can be so sensitive, artificial intelligence probably will not suffice, Mr. Reidenberg said.

“You might have someone who has 150 scars in which are healed up — This particular still gets to be pretty graphic,” he said in an interview. “This particular can be all going to take humans.”

In Instagram’s statement, Mr. Mosseri said the site might continue to consult experts on additional strategies for minimizing the potentially harmful effects of such content, including the use of a “sensitivity screen” in which might blur nongraphic images related to self-harm.

He said Instagram was also exploring ways to direct users who are searching for as well as posting about self-harm to organizations in which can provide help.

This particular can be not initially Facebook has had to grapple with how to handle threats of suicide on its site. In early 2017, several people live-streamed their suicides on Facebook, prompting the social network to ramp up its suicide prevention program. More recently, Facebook has utilized algorithms as well as user reports to flag possible suicide threats to local police agencies.

April C. Foreman, a psychologist as well as a member of the American Association of Suicidology’s board, said in an interview in which there was not a large body of research indicating in which barring graphic images of self-harm might be effective in alleviating suicide risk.