Instagram Just Launched Its Most Important Feature Yet

And it could save lives…


by Danielle Fowler |

From avocado heavy brunches to the odd #shelfie, Instagram has enabled us to share the most personal aspects of our lives through carefully curated feeds and most recently, stories.

But the social media giant has begun to address the darker side effects linked to Instagram.

A new feature will enable family and friends to anonymously report signs of self-harm. For example, if you see a post which indicates that someone is putting their lives at risk, you can flag it up. A notification will appear on the user’s phone stating that, ‘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.’

CEO Kevin Systrom announced the update via Instagram ©Instagram

The social media platform will then offer support with choices including calling a friend, using the helpline provided or reading further information on how to seek mental health support. If the hashtag ‘#selfharm’ is used, the user will also be directed to the support hub.

In a recent post from CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom, Instagram highlighted this need to keep the social media platform ‘positive and safe’ by promoting ‘a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment’.

In order to protect the community of over 500 million users, the social media platform has also announced a feature which allows users to filter out words they consider offensive or inappropriate through the keyword moderation tool.

Instagram worked alongside organisations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorders Association in order to ensure they provide the best support possible.

Instagram chief operating officer Marne Levine told Seventeen, “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. At the same time, we understand friends and family often want to offer support but don’t know how best to reach out.”

She continued: “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.”

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