Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri says the app is taking more steps to keep people safe. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Instagram is prohibiting more types of images related to self-harm or suicide. The photo-sharing social app will no longer allow fictional depictions of such actions, including drawings, memes and graphic images from films or comics. 

In February, Facebook-owned Instagram banned all graphic images of self-harm, such as cutting, and also said it would prevent nongraphic content, such as images of healed scars, from showing up in search, hashtags and the explore tab. In the first three months after that change, Instagram “removed, reduced the visibility of, or added sensitivity screens” to more than 834,000 pieces of content, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said Sunday in a blog post.

The decision to expand the ban aims to “strike the difficult balance between allowing people to share their mental health experiences while also protecting others from being exposed to potentially harmful content,” Mosseri said.

In an op-ed in the Daily Telegraph in February, Mosseri said the company would do more to protect vulnerable users from seeing content promoting self-harm or suicide. The piece touched on the death of British teenager Molly Russell, who took her life in 2017. Russell had used Instagram to engage with and post content about depression and suicide, leading her family to blame the social network for her death.

Instagram may also now remove images that “include associated materials or methods” related to self-harm and suicide, and accounts sharing this type of content won’t be recommended in search or other parts of the app, the company said. 

If you’re struggling with negative thoughts or suicidal feelings, here are 13 suicide and crisis intervention hotlines you can use to get help.

You can also call these numbers:
US: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. 
UK: The Samaritans can be reached at 116 123. 
AU: Lifeline can be reached at 13 11 14. 


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