Instagram boss says sick posts Molly Russell saw before she killed herself were ‘safe’ despite them ‘promoting’ suicide | The Sun

DISTURBING material viewed by tragic Molly Russell before she killed herself was branded "safe" by an Instagram wellbeing boss today.

The 14-year-old had engaged with 16,300 posts about suicide, self-harm and depression before her death in 2017.

Her devastated family believe social media played a part in Molly's decision to end her life.

Elizabeth Lagone, an executive at Meta, which owns Instagram, told an inquest today the posts were "complex" and often a "cry for help".

But she said she believed it was "safe for people to be able to express themselves" online.

Guidelines at the time stated users could post content about suicide and self-harm to "facilitate the coming together to support" other users but not if it "encouraged or promoted" this.

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When asked by the coroner if she agreed if the posts were "unsafe" for children, Ms Lagone said: "I think it is safe for people to be able to express themselves".

When pressed to clarify whether she thought the posts were safe, she replied "Yes, it is safe."

The inquest was told out of the 16,300 posts Molly saved, shared or liked on Instagram in the six-month period before her death, 2,100 were depression, self-harm or suicide-related.

One note on Molly's phone read "I just want to be pretty" – with language identical to a post the teen had viewed on Instagram two days before.

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Coroner Andrew Walker asked Ms Lagone "what gives you the right" to make decisions on what material was safe for children to view.

She responded: "That's why we work closely with experts.

"These aren't decisions we make in a vacuum."

Molly's family launched a campaign for better internet safety following the teen's death.

You’re Not Alone

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
  • Movember, www.uk.movember.com
  • Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm

Her dad Ian Russell branded the material "dark, graphic, harmful".

Last week, social media giant Pinterest apologised over Molly's death and said the platform was "not safe" when the schoolgirl used it.

Head of community operations, Judson Hoffman, said it was material he would "not show to my children".

The inquest, due to last up to two weeks, continues.

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