Facebook and Instagram have shared updates on how it enforces policies against self-harm or suicide on the platform. The company since 2016 has built its approach with experts in suicide prevention. These experts unanimously reaffirmed that Facebook should allow users to share admissions of self-harmed suicidal thoughts, but should not allow people to share content promoting it.
Creating a room for people to share the challenges they are going through must be created. This also includes admitting thoughts or actions of self harm. They said this content, though tragic and upsetting to some, often helps people connect with support and resources, helping in their recovery and saving lives. However, self-harm graphic images have the potential to unintentionally promote self-harm even when they are shared in the context of admission or a path to recovery.
For this very reason, Facebook said that it will no longer allow graphic cutting images even in the context of admission and said that it will begin enforcing this policy in the coming weeks. Instagram added that it will not show non-graphic, self-harm related content – such as healed scars – in search, hashtags and the explore tab, and won’t be recommending it. However, it will not remove this type of content from Instagram entirely, as it doesn’t want want to stigmatize or isolate people who may be in distress and posting self-harm related content as a cry for help.