Instagram Have Introduced a Reporting Tool to Take Measures Against Self-Harming

Huffington Post
One of the most upsetting side-effects of social media has been the tendency for some users to broadcast, or even glorify self-harming and other behaviour linked to depression and suicide. Tumblr has long been coping with the issue, but in recent years it had migrated over to Instagram, and you need only know which hashtags to search for to find a heartbreaking gallery of self-abuse.

Obviously, the platforms have an obligation to address the issue, but outright banning such images can often just exacerbate the issue, or just force it to migrate elsewhere. A careful, caring approach needs to be taken, and that's exactly what Instagram have done with their new reporting function.

If you see a post which suggests self-harm, implicitly or otherwise, you can anonymously report it, and then a message will be sent to the user who posted it offering support, suggesting they contact a friend, linking to a helpline number and a page for advice on how to cope with depressive episodes, bullying and other potential causes. People often feel hesitant to actually speak to someone who they've seen to be self-harming, or even contemplating suicide, in case they say the wrong thing and make the issue worse.
Huffington Post
This tool sidesteps that issue, and while there's no guarantee that the help Instagram offer will be accepted, or even well received, it's something, and it hopefully won't make the user in question feel like they're being pressured or attacked. The message itself reads  “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.”

Searching for certain hashtags known to be linked with self-harm will also bring up the support message, such as #thinspo, which is linked to anorexia and other eating disorders. It's an intelligent play by Instagram, demonstrating that they understand the best approach to this sort of thing isn't the ban culture that other platforms are employed, and in fact social media can actually provide an important first step in spotting and addressing issues like these.

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