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January 20, 2019

Instagram adds suicide prevention tools: Users to anonymously report worrying posts

An Instagram login page is pictured on a laptop screen in Pasadena, California August 14, 2013. /REUTERS
An Instagram login page is pictured on a laptop screen in Pasadena, California August 14, 2013. /REUTERS

Instagram is making it easier to report concerning posts that may indicate that a person needs a help.

A potentially life-saving update being rolled out from this week that enables users of the photo-sharing app to anonymously report friend's posts that mention any form of self-harm.

The Facebook-owned firm wants to give people a way of supporting vulnerable loved ones.

If a picture is reported, the person who posted it will then get a message from Instagram that 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".

The user is then offered several options through the app.

These include messaging or calling a friend, being connected to a helpline according to location, or a link to other useful tips and support.

"We listen to mental health experts when they tell us that outreach from a loved one can make a real difference for those who may be in distress,'' Instagram's chief operating officer Marne Levine told Seventeen.

"These tools are designed to let you know that you are surrounded by a community that cares about you, at a moment when you might most need that reminder."

Instagram users will also be directed to the same page of support options if they search for any hashtags relating to self-harm.

The photo-sharing app firm collaborated with expert on mental health, along with support groups such as the The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, reports Seventeen.

The firm also worked closely with the Samaritans in the UK.

This meant that it was able to come up with the most suitable language for the onscreen help options.

The update is the latest in a series of steps Instagram has taken to make its service safe for all users.

The firm recently introduced a keyword moderation tool that will automatically stop people posting offensive comments under the user's snaps.

The clever feature enables users to customise the comments, effectively banning words that they consider offensive.

The new self-harm prevention tools are being rolled out globally.

To talk to someone confidentially, call the Samaritans free on 116 123. They are available 24 hours every day. Alternatively, visit their website,


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