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Instagram Tool Prevents People From Harming Themselves

Instagram Tool Prevents People From Harming Themselves
Health

A new anonymous reporting option on the social media platform hopes to provide better emotional support for users

Jiwon Kim
  • 25 october 2016

Social media has the power to do a lot of good, and also a lot of bad. Platforms such as Instagram are utilized by hundreds of millions of users every day as a way to post about their lives, feelings and opinions. To better support these people, Instagram decided to create a tool that lets users anonymously report posts that show a person is in emotional distress and also redirect those who are searching for banned terms, such as #thinspo. #Thinspo is a tag that stands for “thin inspiration.” It is widely considered to be a tag that promotes anorexia, a severe eating disorder that affects many people, particularly young women. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders state that over 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S.

Instagram’s new tool will give suggestions to these users, such as information on any helplines or relevant tips. Multiple mental health groups have input their recommendations on how the features should be worded and approached. For example, a statement such as “I need to find a suicide hotline for me or my friend” is listed as a topic that can be easily explored. Also, users can assist their friends that they believe are in need of support. Users can also anonymously take action if they see any disconcerting posts on a friend’s feed and receive advice from the new tool.

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Instagram is meant to help people build connections, but some of the images posted also have the power to make people feel negative and harmful towards themselves. Users may feel pressured to make it seem as if their lives are perfect through manicured photos, although it is usually far from the truth. Instagram’s new tool is meant to come in and help battle some of the negatives on the social network, and provide a positive outlet for users to turn to. The aim is to foster a healthier social media community that supports every user.

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