Social media has been integrated deeply into everyone’s lives and has a certain level of influence on the consumers of online content. Sadly, these platforms have been abused too many times for promoting mass agendas and false news. Moreover, apart from dealing with fake-news, another threat that is on the rise is the circulation of sensitive content pertaining to mental health.
This sensitive content includes videos and pictures of self-harming, suicidal thoughts or attempts, so on and so forth. Moreover, because of the heavy influence such content has on people already suffering, it actually enables them to commit these acts. The Facebook-owned image and video sharing platform has introduced strict policies. A sad incident when a British teen took her life after reading about suicide online is what made Instagram initiate this policy.
Instagram bans self-harm content including hashtags!
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said, “We will no longer allow fictional depictions of self-harm or suicide on Instagram, such as drawings or memes or content from films or comics that use graphic imagery”
Furthermore, Adam added, “We will also remove other imagery that may not show self-harm or suicide, but does include associated materials or methods”
It is also banning related hashtags that show any relevance with such material, in addition to removing graphic images and videos. Since everyone finds solace online, consuming online content that relates to their suffering, emotions or thoughts; Instagram is on a hunt to make it hard for depressed teens to find self-harming content.
Discussing the negative influence of such posts online, Mosseri said, “The tragic reality is that some young people are influenced in a negative way by what they see online, and as a result they might hurt themselves” Moreover, adding to this he said, “This is a real risk”
Instagram reported on the number of such content that has been taken care of since the policy was implemented. “reduced the visibility of, or added sensitivity screens” to more than 834,000 pieces of content.”
This is a great step taken by one of the leading social platforms that have billions of users, consuming a large chunk of content daily. It is important to know how severe of an illness depression is and reading or watching such content that only makes it worse for the ones suffering leading them to commit suicide is a problem. However, Instagram took everything under consideration and didn’t just ban such material from its application but also extended a helping hand to those in need of it.
Adam Mosseri informed that anyone making searches related to self-harm will be sent online resources or local hotlines such as Samaritans or Papyrus in Britain or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline in the US.
Instagram recently brought its dark-mode-feature that definitely was a plus considering how popular the theme is for social media. Now, with this policy – this popular image and video sharing platform has definitely gained respect.
Instagram chief sumed up the mental-health stigma nicely.
In conclusion to this new policy, the Instagram chief said, “These are complex issues that no single company or set of policies and practices alone can solve. I’m often asked: Why do we allow any suicide or self-harm content at all on Instagram? Experts tell us that giving people a chance to share their most difficult moments and their stories of recovery can be a vital means of support, and that preventing people from sharing this type of content could not only stigmatize these types of mental health issues, but might hinder loved ones from identifying and responding to a cry for help. But getting our approach right requires more than a single change to our policies or a one-time update to our technology. Our work here is never done. Our policies and technology have to evolve as new trends emerge and behaviors change.”
Truly, he is right. It is a double-edged sword. Allowing everyone to share grief and find support is necessary but there is always a chance for someone to get influenced negatively and take their own lives. Since one cannot find a solution to filter out unlimited data; this does seem to be the way to tackle.
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