Molly Russell took her own life in the early hours of 21 November 2017 after handing in her homework and packing her bags for school. Her family had seen no obvious signs of severe mental illness in the preceding months. In the days after her death, Molly’s family uncovered a large number of disturbing social media posts on her Instagram account linked to suicide, self-harm and depression.
Senior Coroner Andrew Walker will ask social media firms including Snapchat, Whatsapp and Instagram to provide information on her accounts. Pinterest representatives have already agreed to assist. It is thought to be the first time a British coroner has made such an order.
Her family continue to raise awareness about the impact of Instagram and image-sharing platforms on mental health, and the effect of algorithms which suggest similar images and accounts to users. Information on the charity set up by Molly’s family can be found here or follow their progress on twitter @mollyroseorg.
Instagram has pledged to remove content showing methods of self-harm, banned graphic self-harm images and restricted accounts with suicidal themes. Instagram is also planning on removing the ‘like’ feature on its images.
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