Instagram is a place for latte-art, #NoFilter selfies and an inappropriate amount of pictures of your dog, but have you ever scrolled past something that made you stop and wonder if your Insta-friend was really OK?
Its one thing to post an emotional quote after a break-up, but if someone’s pictures and captions hint at something much darker, Instagram is now taking steps to look after its’ users mental health.
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After the news that you can now filter comments to mass-delete any abuse (Taylor Swift is rumoured to have used the Instagram comments tool to delete the influx of snake comments on her profile post-Swiddleston), Instagram’s new support feature allows you to report and flag any posts that seem indicative of self-harm of any kind.
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How? Just anonymously report a post, and Instagram will reach out to the user with a concerned message and offers of support, reading ‘Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we'd like to help.’
The app then offers suggestions to support your state of mind, including talking to a friend, contacting a local helpline or receive some mental health and support. You will also see this page if you click on or search for a hashtag associated with self-harm. Many of these hashtags are now banned.
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Instagram CEP Marne Levie told Seventeen ‘These tools are designed to let you know that you are surrounded by a community that cares about you, at a moment when you might most need that reminder’, also noting that Instagram worked with organisations like the National Eating Disorders Association and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to ensure their wording and prompts were appropriate.
Is this the best way to support a friend going through a difficult time, or should we be reaching out personally instead? Let us know below…