Instagram tightens rules on self-injury images

Instagram is owned by social media giant Facebook. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 February 2019

Instagram tightens rules on self-injury images

  • Instagram has never allowed posts that promote or encourage suicide or self-harm
  • It also planned to ramp up efforts get counseling or other resources to people who post or search for self-harm related content

SAN FRANCISCO: Instagram late Thursday announced it is clamping down on images related to self-injury such as cutting.
The move came after British Health Secretary Matt Hancock met with social media companies about doing more to safeguard the mental health of teenagers using their platforms.
British teenager Molly Russell was found dead in her bedroom in 2017. The 14-year-old had apparently taken her own life, and her Instagram account reportedly revealed she followed accounts related to depression and suicide.
“It is encouraging to see that decisive steps are now being taken to try to protect children from disturbing content on Instagram,” said the girl’s father, Ian Russell.
“It is now time for other social media platforms to take action to recognize the responsibility they too have to their users if the Internet is to become a safe place for young and vulnerable people.”
Changes to Instagram’s self-harm content rules follow a comprehensive review involving experts and academics from around the world on youth, mental health, and suicide, according to chief executive Adam Mosseri.
“Over the past month, we have seen that we are not where we need to be on self-harm and suicide, and that we need to do more to keep the most vulnerable people who use Instagram safe,” Mosseri said in an online post.
“We will not allow any graphic images of self-harm, such as cutting on Instagram — even if it would previously have been allowed as admission.”
Instagram has never allowed posts that promote or encourage suicide or self-harm.
The Facebook-owned service is removing references to non-graphic content related to people hurting themselves, such as healed scars, from search, hashtag, explore, or recommendation features.
“We are not removing this type of content from Instagram entirely, as we don’t want to stigmatize or isolate people who may be in distress and posting self-harm related content as a cry for help,” Mosseri said.
Instagram also planned to ramp up efforts get counseling or other resources to people who post or search for self-harm related content.
“During the comprehensive reviews, the experts, including the Center for Mental Health and reaffirmed that creating safe spaces for young people to talk about their experiences — including self-harm — online, is essential,” Mosseri said.
“However, collectively it was advised that graphic images of self-harm — even when it is someone admitting their struggles — has the potential to unintentionally promote self-harm,” he continued, citing it as the reason for the ban.
Instagram’s aim is to eliminate graphic self-injury or suicide related imagery and significantly downplay related content in features at the service while remaining a supportive community, according to Mosseri.
On Thursday, Mosseri joined representatives from Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Twitter and other companies who met with Hancock to discuss handling of content related to self-injury or suicide.
“What really matters is when children are on these sites they are safe. The progress we made today is good, but there’s a lot more work to do,” Hancock said after the meeting.
“What all the companies that I met today committed to was that they want to solve this problem, and they want to work with us about it.”

REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

Updated 17 August 2019

REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

CHENNAI: The first season of “Sacred Games” last year was a hit, and the second edition, which began streaming on Netflix on Aug. 15, may be even more so.

The eight episodes explore some of India's most pressing current issues such as a nuclear threat, terrorism and inter-religious animosity dating back to the country's 1947 partition. It. It also addresses how religious men can indulge in the most unholy of acts, including helping corrupt politicians.

Some of the greatest films have had conflict and war as their backdrop: “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Ben-Hur” and “Garam Hawa,” to mention a few. The second season of “Sacred Games” also unfolds in such a scenario, with terrorism and inter-communal disharmony having a rippling effect on the nation.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Black Friday”) and Neeraj Ghaywan (“Masaan,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015), the web series, based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel, unfolds with Ganesh Gaitonde (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) escaping from prison and finding himself in Mombasa. He has been carted there by an agent of India's

Research and Analysis Wing, Kusum Devi Yadav (Amruta Subhash), who forces him to help find Shahid Khan (Ranvir Shorey), the mastermind behind bomb blasts and terror attacks.

In Mumbai, police inspector Sartaj (Saif Ali Khan) has just two weeks to save the city from a nuclear attack, which Gaitonde had warned him about. Both men love Mumbai and do not want it to be destroyed. But religious extremist Khanna Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) and his chief disciple Batya Ableman (Kalki Koechlin) believe that only such a catastrophic destruction can help cleanse society and bring a cleaner, saner new order.

A narrative of deceit, betrayal, love and longing, the second season has a plodding start, but picks up steam from the fourth episode, with Sartaj and his men racing against time to find a nuclear time bomb that could wipe out Mumbai. Crude dialogue and a constant doomsday atmosphere could have been avoided, but riveting performances by the lead pair – Khan and Siddiqui (though he is getting typecast in this kind of role) – and nail-biting thrills make this Netflix original dramatically captivating.