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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

New Instagram guidelines censor suicide

    By Annica Wu
    Staff Writer

    On Oct. 27, Instagram made an official announcement that it will be banning all suicide related content.

    After Ian Russel, father of 14-year-old Molly Russel, found graphic content on his daughter’s Instagram account shortly after her suicide, he, along with other parents who have also lost their children to suicide, led the charge to change social media guidelines.
    According to CBS news, “Russell believes social media is partly responsible for the death of his daughter. He and his family “had no idea” Molly was suffering.”
    Russel spoke in an event with the UK Parliament to take action on the issue in order to prevent more cases like Molly’s from reoccurring.
    The Instagram ban includes all types of references to suicide, including pictures, memes, cartoons, and explicit drawings.
    The site has since increased its security measures and altered its guidelines to censor any content related to suicide.
    The Center of Disease control finds that suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged 10-24 and suicide rates have increased by 56 percent from 2007-2017. Many people have pointed to social media as the cause.
    According to BBC News, “Between April and June this year, [Instagram] had removed 834,000 pieces of content, 77 percent of which had not been reported by users.”
    Despite the changes made to the platform, some have argued that what Instagram has done is not enough.
    Jim Steyer, the founder of Common Sense Media, the US’s largest charity dealing with child safety online, stated to BBC, “The lack of responsibility of the social media platforms is absolutely mind boggling,” And calls for new regulations to be imposed on these companies.
    Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, “acknowledged that there is still much work to be done in the area,” according to Digital Trends
    Others have expressed that some aspects of Instagram’s censorship rules have gone too far, claiming that pictures of healed self-harm scars should not be censored after multiple images of people showing their own self harm scars were taken down or blurred, despite staying within the site’s community guidelines.
    Mental health advocate Hannah Daisy said to BBC, “None of these photos are doing harm. They in fact show that there is life after self-harm, there is recovery, hope. By taking down these images you are telling all of them and others that their body is never going to be accepted.”
    The #youcantcensormyskin movement that was started by 19-year-old Chloe Rose, is meant to inspire people to not hide or be ashamed of their self-harm scars.
    The New York Post wrote, “With its immediacy, anonymity, and potential for bullying, social media has a unique potential for causing real harm.”

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    New Instagram guidelines censor suicide