Social media has drastically changed how we humans engage with each other and see ourselves in terms of self-worth. Anything can be dangerous in excess, but the impacts of social media on our individual psyches should not be ignored — especially when it comes to those who engage in self-harm activities. In light of this, Instagram, which you might have heard of, is taking steps that it feels are in the right direction in helping those aforementioned people.
There are four key elements to Instagram's new plan, but only two relate to how content will be handled:
- Graphic imagery of self-harm will no longer be allowed.
- Non-graphic self-harm content will not appear in search, hashtags, or the explore tab.
The first one is self-explanatory. Even if the graphic content met the community guidelines, it will be removed when reported since it can, willingly or not, encourage self-harm and/or suicide. The second point is more interesting. While the so-called non-graphic content (such as healed scars) will no longer appear in any form of discovery, Instagram is making a point that it will not remove said content. Doing so, it claims, would further stigmatize those who either are currently in distress, or have come out the other side.
Topics like this are a really touchy subject. Though graphic imagery can promote similar actions, it can also act as a proverbial call for help. In those cases, Instagram will remove the content, yes, but it will offer help to the person who's struggling. The flip side is not shaming those with scars, since their experience shared among people with similar problems can be helpful. We are, after all, a social species.