Instagram announced on Thursday that it will no longer allow graphic images of self-harm on the social network. The change is assumed to be in response to how the platform may have caused Molly Russel, 14-years-old, to commit suicide.

Molly Russell ended her life after viewing self-harm images on Instagram, according to the AP.  Her father, Ian Russell, believes the content she saw on Instagram played a part in her suicide.

Instagram explained why they had allowed this images in the past in their blog post:

“We have allowed content that shows contemplation or admission of self-harm because experts have told us it can help people get the support they need. But we need to do more to consider the effect of these images on other people who might see them. This is a difficult but important balance to get right.”

A study done in 2017 suggested that Instagram was the leading social media site for mental health issues. YouTube was listed as the most positive while Instagram was most likely to cause anxiety, depression, bullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

At the moment, Instagram relies on users to report the images that are inappropriate. The Instagram boss Adam Mosseri stated the platform will work on technologies to spot the images.


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