Instagram’s New Tool Helps Users at Risk for Self-harm

October 20, 2016, 8:28 PM UTC
Instagram Changes Terms Of Service, Stirs Anger Among Users
FAIRFAX, CA - DECEMBER 18: The Instagram logo is displayed on an Apple iPhone on December 18, 2012 in Fairfax, California. Users of the popular photo-sharing app Instagram are angered over language in Instagram's new terms of service that states that a business may use any of the users photographs in advertising without compensation to the user. The policy is set to go into effect on January 16, 2013. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo by Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Like its parent company Facebook, Instagram has rolled out a new tool to better help users at-risk for self-harm and suicide.

App users first noticed the feature on their accounts this past week, TechCrunch reports. It doesn’t just try to help users at-risk for self-harm and suicide, but also for eating disorders. Instagram is working with the National Eating Disorder Association, as well as more than 40 other mental health-related organizations to ensure users can get the help and support they need.

The feature is activated in one of two ways: by a post that looks like a threat of self-harm (or search for posts related to this topic) or by a concerned follower. And once that happens, Instagram sends the flagged user the following message: “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.” It then gives users three different options: message or call a friend, get in touch with a helpline, or reading through tips and support.

Followers can report activity anonymously too, which is a plus for those unsure of how to talk about the subject in a helpful and constructive manner; for those who don’t know the user very well; and for those who don’t know the user at all.


“We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review these reports,” Instagram spokeswoman Marni Tomljanovic told the Wall Street Journal. “They prioritize the most serious reports and respond quickly. If someone on Instagram sees a direct threat of suicide or self-injury, we encourage them to contact local emergency services immediately.”

Read More

Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward