Instagram still shows posts urging self-harm seven months after pledging to remove them

Instagram still shows posts urging self-harm seven months after pledging to remove them

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INSTAGRAM is displaying posts encouraging users to self-harm – seven months after its boss pledged to axe the content.

A Sun on Sunday investigation also discovered accounts freely displaying detailed instructions on how to end your life.

Molly Russell, 14, took her own life after viewing self harm material on Instagram
Press Association Images

Molly Russell, 14, took her own life after viewing self harm material on Instagram[/caption]

Many pages showed pictures users had uploaded moments after cutting or scarring their bodies.

The NSPCC said they were disturbed by our findings and urged Instagram to take urgent action to prevent another teen-suicide linked to social media.

Instagram announced in February it was removing all graphic self-harm images from its site following the death of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life after viewing such material.

The networking site’s boss Adam Mosseri even pledged to “consider his position” if the site hadn’t cleaned up its act.

Instagram bosses were investigating images and accounts containing self-harm pictures after being alerted by The Sun on Sunday.

It took our investigator a matter of seconds to discover Instagram is still littered with self-harm and suicide-related content.

‘#SELFHATE’

One image showed a young woman with blood around her eyes – after apparently having made a cut to her eyeball. It was accompanied by hashtags – which encourage like-minded people to read posts – including #broken, #selfhate and #selfharm.

Another user had a page with pictures of men and women who have self-harmed.

Images showed a young woman with slash marks on her buttocks and a man with bruise marks to the chest and neck. Another picture showed apparent cigarette burn marks on someone’s hands.

Another account which had more than 700 followers contained posts encouraging people to commit suicide.

We also found accounts encouraging people to use drugs as a way to end their lives.

One, which had 12,000 followers, contained a picture of what looked like two packets of sleeping pills. The message “I Don’t Want To Live In This Hell” had been written on the packet. And the post was accompanied by a series of hashtags including one that said #suicide.

STILL NOT REMOVED

The post had a warning against it but had still not been removed.

Another account showed a syringe alongside a series of disturbing hashtags including the message #letmedie.

One contained a 30-second video which provided a montage of different ways to kill yourself.

And it included a picture, which had been posted just days ago, showing blood pouring out of a person’s wrist.

Next to it was the message: “Let Me Bleed Until I Can Heal.” Underneath it was the hashtag #killmyselfnow.

The profile also included a picture showing a number of different bladed instruments a person could use to kill themselves

OVERDOSE ADVICE

We also found an account advising what drugs were best to use to overdose.

And we uncovered dozens of accounts that displayed images showing the after-effects of self-harm.

One young man posted pictures of cut and slash marks on his arm with hashtags including #selfhate, #depression and #dark.

One site had a string of pictures referencing suicide on it.

These included a woman falling backwards from a steep cliff, a man making a gesture of shooting himself in the head, empty train-tracks and packets of pills with a message saying ‘The world was never made for me’.

The account features other messages including, ‘My demons are loud again’ and ‘I feel trapped in my own thoughts’.

Another user was even using Instagram to keep a disturbing online self-harm diary.

‘RAZORS ARE MY BEST FRIEND’

Under a message “razors are my best friend” the user had posted dozens of pictures and poems and asked others: “WIll you starve with me?”

One section read: “13 years of blood, bruises, burns, but it’s been 7 months tomorrow without any of it. Honestly, I miss it. Most people would think I’m crazy, but I like my scars, I want more of them.”

We are not naming the accounts, so we do not encourage users to look at them.

A survey this year showed that Instagram had 23 million users in the UK, with its appeal strongest among women under 24.

The site has a youngest age limit of 13, although this is difficult to enforce.

YOU'RE NOT ALONE

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

An NSPCC spokesman said: “It is hugely disappointing that graphic content promoting self-harm and suicide can still be found on Instagram.

“Instagram needs to step up the consistency and quality of their moderation, to match their investment in technology that can proactively detect harmful content.

“Social networks can’t patch things up with piecemeal action while waiting for another tragedy. The Government needs to introduce an independent regulator who will ensure their platforms are truly safe for children.”

Molly Russell’s dad, Ian, who set up the Molly Rose Foundation in the wake of his daughter’s death, added: “For the sake of the lives of the young people who use Instagram and other websites, we need to be doing a lot more to make the Internet safer.”


An official inquiry earlier this year linked one in four suicides among young people to the internet.

Instagram’s UK Public Policy Manager Emma Collins said: “Keeping people who use Instagram safe is one of our biggest priorities.

“We are working with The Samaritans to create new suicide and self-harm guidelines for social media.”

Molly Russell’s dad, Ian, set up the Molly Rose Foundation in the wake of his daughter’s death
PA:Press Association

Molly Russell’s dad, Ian, set up the Molly Rose Foundation in the wake of his daughter’s death[/caption]

A survey this year showed that Instagram had 23 million users in the UK, with its appeal strongest among women under 24
Alamy

A survey this year showed that Instagram had 23 million users in the UK, with its appeal strongest among women under 24[/caption]


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