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New Instagram guidelines ban anorexia, cutting and other self-harm

Instagram's community guidelines were updated over the weekend. Now the photo-sharing service prohibits content which actively promotes many forms of self-harm including — though not limited to — eating disorders, self-mutilation and suicide.From now on "accounts, images or hashtags dedicated to glorifying, promoting or encouraging self-harm" won't be allowed on Instagram, according to the
Instagram / Today

Instagram's community guidelines were updated over the weekend. Now the photo-sharing service prohibits content which actively promotes many forms of self-harm including — though not limited to — eating disorders, self-mutilation and suicide.

From now on "accounts, images or hashtags dedicated to glorifying, promoting or encouraging self-harm" won't be allowed on Instagram, according to the service's staff:

Don’t promote or glorify self-harm: While Instagram is a place where people can share their lives with others through photographs, 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. We believe that communication regarding these behaviors in order to create awareness, come together for support and to facilitate recovery is important, but that Instagram is not the place for active promotion or glorification of self-harm.

Hashtags related to this banned content — such as #thinspiration, #probulimia, #proanorexia and so on — are no longer searchable. And in future releases of the Instagram apps, "hashtags that are associated with self-harm, but are not necessarily utilized to promote" these topics will trigger a notice which warns users about the potentially graphic nature of what they are about to view and provides them with links where they can get more information or support.

These community guideline changes — which were announced in a post on the Instagram blog — aren't really shocking considering that Tumblr and Pinterest recently made similar ones. Tumblr officially prohibited blogs "that actively promote self-harm" while Pinterest rewrote its Acceptable Use Policy and added language which is broad enough to cover those topics and more.

Time will tell whether the community changes — and similar ones, such as link-sharing website Reddit's recent ban on all forums which focused on the "sexualization of children" — will have a significant impact on the content shared, but they're at least a step in the right direction, particularly because they're leading to a great deal of discussion within the respective online communities.

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