Instagram wants to clamp down on images that depict suicide or self-harm. The Facebook-owned company has now decided to hide self-harm images behind “sensitivity screens.” This feature is going to blur the image until the user makes a decision to view it and taps on the image.


Instagram’s renewed focus on preventing the spread of such images follows after the suicide of British teen Molly Russel. Her parents believe that the 14 year old took her own life after she show graphic self-harm images on Instagram and Pinterest.

The service’s community guidelines mention that posts which encourage people to “embrace self-injury” are removed. It also rolled out suicide prevention tools in 2016 which included reporting options for such content. Instagram head Adam Mosseri has said that self-harm images will now be hidden behind “sensitivity screens” on Instagram. He will also be meeting with UK health secretary Matt Hancock this week.

Mosseri told The Telegraph that Instagram will be increasing its investments in “engineers and trained content reviewers” so that it’s harder to find the content of this sort. Images of cutting are already blocked from appearing in search, hashtags, and account recommendations. Instagram will also “better support people who post images indicating they might be struggling with self-harm or suicide.”

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