Instagram bans self-harm images

Less than a month ago, BBC journalist Angus Crawford reported on the absolutely heartbreaking story of Molly Russell, a 14-year-old girl who took her own life. Her father said he felt Instagram, which hosted images of self-harm, was partly responsible for what happened.

Today, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri announced the site will no longer allow (most) pictures depicting self-harm:

Adam Mosseri said Instagram was trying to balance “the need to act now and the need to act responsibly”.

He added the site was “not where we need to be on the issues of self-harm and suicide”.

When asked by the BBC’s Angus Crawford when the images would be removed, Mr Mosseri replied: “As quickly as we can, responsibly.”

Digital minister Margot James told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme the government would “have to keep the situation very closely under review to make sure that these commitments are made real – and as swiftly as possible”.

That last paragraph is especially important. Goes without saying that we’ll be keeping a very close eye on whether Instagram lives up to this promise.

In interviewing Mosseri, Crawford didn’t mess around:

When asked if he would resign if graphic self-harm content was still on the platform in six months, Mr Mosseri, 36, said: “I will certainly have a long thought about how well I am doing in the role that I’m in.”