Molly Russell Instagram, Pinterest suicide
Occurred: November 2017
A coroner concluded (pdf) that the death of 14 year-old Molly Russell had been contributed to by Instagram and Pinterest in 'more than a meaningful way'. 'She died', the coroner ruled, 'from an act of self-harm while suffering from depression and the negative effects of online content.'
The Guardian found that, in the lead up to her death, Russell had viewed and interacted with over 2,000 Instagram posts related to suicide, self-harm, or depression, and hundreds of similar images on Pinterest.
Instagram owner Meta and Pinterest acknowledged unsafe content had been on their platforms and apologised. The inquest had been delayed multiple times, in part due to content redaction requests from Meta.
Instagram (2022). Updates to the Sensitive Content Control
North London Coroner’s Service (2022). REGULATION 28 REPORT TO PREVENT FUTURE DEATHS (pdf)
UK Childrens' Commissioner (2019). Online platforms must do more to tackle social media content which is harmful to children
NSPCC (2022). Molly Russell inquest findings
Duffy B.E., Meisner C. (2022). Platform governance at the margins: Social media creators’ experiences with algorithmic (in)visibility
Picardo J., McKenzie S.K., Collings S, Jenkin G. (2020). Suicide and self-harm content on Instagram: A systematic scoping review
Royal Society for Public Health (2017). Status of Mind
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Published: June 2023