Instagram has elected to take measures banning self-harm profiles and related hashtags. No more accounts promoting extreme takes on weight loss like anorexia or bulimia and no accounts promoting cutting or similar behavior. Here’s a portion of Instagram’s statement regarding the changes:
Going forward, we won’t allow accounts, images, or hashtags dedicated to glorifying, promoting, or encouraging self-harm. Should users come across content of that nature, we recommend flagging the photo or flagging the user as a “Terms of Service” violation for our Support team to review.
It is important to note that this guideline does not extend to accounts created to constructively discuss, or document personal experiences that show any form of self-harm where the intention is recovery or open discussion. While we strongly encourage people to seek help for themselves or loved ones who are suffering, we understand the importance of communication as a form of support, in order to create awareness and to assist in recovery.
Instagram joins Tumblr and Pinterest as the latest social network (of any kind) to take proactive measures to deactivate such accounts. Hashtags such as “thinspiration” and “proana” or “proanorexia” no longer work.
This is a positive measure for any social network or community site to take but the change could also be viewed as being in line with the policies of Instagram’s new owner, Facebook, which states that it does not “allow the promotion of suicide, “cutting,” eating disorers, or illegal drug use.” However Facebook appears to encourage user reports of such content, whereas Instagram has changed the wording of its guidelines to reflect a more direct approach: “any account found encouraging or urging users to embrace anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders; or to cut, harm themselves, or commit suicide will result in a disabled account without warning.”