Will Instagram’s ban on self-harm images be enough to protect vulnerable users?

Earlier this week, Instagram announced that they were extending the ban of self-harm content to drawing and cartoons.

This follows their pledge in February to remove all graphic self-harm images from the website. This pledge was on the back of Instagram reviewing how safe they have kept their site for the community of vulnerable users.

Only a month before, the suicide of 14-year-old Molly Russell came to light. After Molly took her own life in 2017, her parents found she had viewed self-harm and suicide related content on her Instagram account. This could suggest her death was potentially influenced by viewing this content.

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Poor mental health among young people is incredibly high. In a survey conducted by National Statistics UK in 2018, suicide in young males aged between 10-24 years old had risen to 9 deaths per 100,000 males in 2018. Moreover 3.3 young females per 100,000 lost their lives in 2018.

Also, according to MentalHealth.org, 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year. In further statistics, 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14; with 75% established by age 24.

In July 2019 it was recorded that, 37.2% of Instagram users were aged 13-24 years old. This means there is a large community of Instagram users can be considered vulnerable and at risk.


Molly has not been the only person potentially influenced by self-harm content on Instagram. In January this year, 16-year-old Libby spoke to the BBC about being ‘hooked’ on ‘viewing’ and ‘posting’ self-harm content on Instagram when she was 12-years-old. She recalled sharing “pictures of her fresh cuts” to an audience of 8,000 followers.

Her dad Ian recalled comments underneath Libby’s posts saying: “You shouldn’t have done it this way, you should have done it like that. Don’t do it here, do it there because there’s more blood.”

It is frightening to think that other Instagram users, who are potentially in a vulnerable position themselves, were encouraging Libby to self-harm and put herself at risk.

What’s more frightening is that when the family attempted to report the posts, Instagram responded that the pictures did not breach the community standards.

“The standard reply of such content not infringing the platforms’ community guidelines is still too often received when complaints are made.”

Ian Russell, the father of Molly, founded the ‘Molly Rose Foundation’ after her death. The foundation’s aim is suicide prevention with a focus on young people under the age of 25. They seek to help those suffering from mental illness by giving advice and connecting them with help.

Ian Russell believes a short-term solution is for social media websites to put more focus in reviewing reported content: “I think it is vital for platforms to respond more effectively to their customers’ requests to remove any harmful content found as the standard reply of such content not infringing the platforms’ community guidelines is still too often received when complaints are made.”

Nine months on, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced how they will implement the removal of harmful drawings and memes: “We will no longer allow fictional depictions of self-harm or suicide on Instagram, such as drawings or memes or content from films or comics that use graphic imagery.”

“Accounts sharing this type of content will also not be recommended in search or in our discovery surfaces, like ‘Explore’.

However, from searching the Facebook owned app this week, it is clear there is still self-harm related content all over Instagram When searching the #selfharm tag and filtering the search to ‘accounts’ a number of accounts with triggering content pops up.

Whilst the pledge is a step in the right direction, Ian Russell is sceptical whether Instagram will follow through: “I think this is an important step forward and sets a lead that other platforms, who up until now have remained almost silent on this issue, to follow. However, it is very hard, from outside the tech corporations, to judge just how committed to the removal of harmful content Instagram really is.”

The biggest step Instagram has taken so far, is hiding posts that are categorized under the ‘#suicide’ tag. When you search the Instagram tag, it appears there are 8.4 million posts, but the results are concealed and instead, a ‘Get Support’ option appears.

This directs you to Instagram’s ‘Can We Help’ section of the website that gives you the opportunity to talk to someone or access information that other people have found supportive.

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Instagram claims that they have removed 834,000 pieces of content between April and June, with 77% being unreported by users. However, there are 95 million photos and videos shared on Instagram per day. Therefore, over the three-month period, Instagram only discovered an average of just over 9000 posts with dangerous content per day. This leaves room for millions of self-harm content being undiscovered by Instagram.


 The only way that Instagram can find the dangerous content is through the posts being reported or the images being tagged with suicide related terms. Therefore, it is likely a lot of harmful content is being missed.

Ian Russell feels that Instagram’s current algorithm will not allow much improvement in protecting vulnerable users: “It is likely that sizeable improvements will only be made if the platforms’ algorithms are adapted to provide better protection and stop the dangerous spread of harmful content, it would be more beneficial if any development in this area is freely shared to ensure as widespread benefit as possible.”

 The risk to the wider body of users, including those who are vulnerable, should be balanced against any benefit this content may bring to other communities.”

Instagram says it will not remove all content relating to suicide due to some being recovery stories which can be a form of support for some users. However, what might count as support to some, might trigger other vulnerable users.

Whilst Ian Russell thinks all users should be considered, he feels that vulnerable users should have the focus to ensure they are protected: “The risk to the wider body of users, including those who are vulnerable, should be balanced against any benefit this content may bring to other communities.”

Ian Russell believes a synergy between tech companies, academics and charities will be the best solution to helping vulnerable users: “I think the tech companies should more openly work together with academics and charities in this field, to ensure as much as possible is being done and it is co-ordinated across the whole industry.”

With Instagram making a conscious effort to protect vulnerable users, there is hope that other social media platforms will follow in form and create a safe community for young people at risk.

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Apple TV Ready To Disrupt Your TV Habits



EN4News Sports Bulletin: 31/10/19

Sports Correspondent Erin McRitchie runs you through today’s sport headlines.

Apple TV Ready To Disrupt Your TV Habits

Tomorrow, Apple will be joining streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime in competing for our viewership after they launch their own streaming platform, ‘Apple TV’.

Apple have undercut its competitors by pricing their monthly subscription service at £4.99 a month and free for a whole year for those who purchase a new Apple device. One subscription allows the use of Apple TV on 6 devices. In comparison Netflix charge £8.99 a month for use of its service on multiple devices. Amazon’s Prime Video charge’s £5.99 a month for their TV service.

Apple may be dipping in to an already crowded market but with over 19 million people across the UK using streaming platforms and 2 out of 5 adults using them as their main entertainment source there may be enough room for everyone.








Apple TV will include a mixture of new original titles and old TV and Film favourites. Ten star studded Apple originals have already been announced and will be available to binge watch when the service goes live. They have pulled out all the stops with big names like Jenifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon, Jason Mamoa and even snoopy on board but only time will tell if this will be enough to convert viewers from their favourite platforms.

With Disney launching their own streaming platform in the coming months with nostalgic favourites and new adaptions under their belt creating even more entertainment choices and competition.The battle of the streaming platforms has already began and as an audience get ready to reap the benefits.


If you are thinking of giving Apple TV a go here is what you have got to look forward to.


The Morning Show


Genre: Drama

Premise: Aniston and Witherspoon ( The Green Sisters) are reunited for this drama revolving around an American TV morning show.

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon, Steve Carell


Genre: Drama

Premise: Set in a dystopian future where a deadly virus has disrupted the world leaving the survivors blind.

Cast: Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, Hera Hilmar, Sylvia Hoeks, Christian Camargo, Archie Madekwe, Nesta Cooper and Yadira Guevara-Prip





Genre: Comedy

Premise: Steinfeld takes on the role of Emily Dickinson, a rebellious poet, set in the 19th Centuary.

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Toby Huss, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Anna Baryshnikov and Ella Hunt

For all mankind

Genre: Drama

Premise: This Drama asks the question what if the space race never ended?

Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt and Jodi Balfour



Snoopy in Space




The Elephant Queen








Truth be told



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Heckingbottom ‘frustrated’ by Hibs performance despite snatching late draw against Livingston

Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom said he was “frustrated” with his side’s first-half performance against Livingston after they were made to fight back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the dying seconds on Wednesday night.

Martin Boyle’s 92nd minute equaliser ensured Hibs’ unbeaten run extended to six games, although the Edinburgh side are still without a league win since the opening day of the Premiership season in August.

Heckingbottom entered the game under mounting pressure after Hibs’ blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Ross County last weekend, but the roles were reversed on Wednesday as Hibs found themselves two goals down at half time before they came back in the second half.

“You feel different coming back from two down than you do drawing a game from two up, but the overriding feeling is frustration,” Heckingbottom said.

“It shouldn’t take tactical changes and bollockings to get people running about yet that’s what has been happening.

“All people want to see is a spirit and a drive and a determination and we saw that in the second half. And that’s why the fans were excellent with the players because that’s all they expect – that’s what any football fans want to see.

“I hope the players can take belief out of that because they’ve had it the other way around; being the dominant team to start with and looking like they’ve running away with the game just to give it away. So they’ve had to earn it. I’m over the moon for Martin Boyle for the work he has put in. But in the end my frustration is with our performance.”

Heckingbottom might have been minutes from the sack had the returning Boyle — who had been sidelined since July with a knee injury — not popped up with the equaliser in stoppage time.

Defeat would have left Hibs bottom of the Premiership table, and Heckingbottom again faced calls to be sacked from his own supporters after Livingston went 2-0 up at the end of the first half thanks to goals from Steven Lawless and Craig Sibbald.

Heckingbottom responded by bringing on a second striker in Florian Kamberi at the break and Hibs pulled a goal back on the hour mark through a penalty won and scored by midfielder Scott Allan.

Livingston’s Scott Tiffoney then missed a golden chance to wrap up the game for the visitors after he rounded Hibs’ goalkeeper Chris Maxwell but put his effort wide of the empty goal from only a few yards out.

Boyle then entered the game to a huge ovation with 10 minutes remaining and in stoppage time the striker burst through on goal before finishing past Livingston goalkeeper Matija Sarkic, who earlier had made an excellent save to deny Tom James.

The point takes Hibs up into 9th place in the Premiership table, above city rivals Hearts who are bottom after losing 1-0 to St Johnstone.




It’s October 31st, Why are We Still in The EU?


October 31st was supposed to be the day we exited the EU but with our official departure being delayed until January 31st and a snap general election on the horizon, feeling confused is an understatement.

Here’s a run-through on everything you need to know about our late withdrawal and our impending election:


With a general election set for December 12th, you may be wondering who you should vote for. The election intends to be quite Brexit heavy so here are the main parties stances on the matter.

To register to vote follow this link.

MSPs On Standby As Holyrood Not to Reconvene Early

MSPs look likely to not be reconvening until Tuesday after presiding officer Ken MacIntosh deferred his decision on an early return.

MacIntosh cited an “ongoing lack of clarity” from Westminster in making his decision, and the Scottish government will be keeping their eye on London for further developments before they return.

With further referendums and even a general election being discussed, the Scottish Government were keen to reconvene MSPs to debate Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal.

In a message to MSPs, MacIntosh added that he would keep a close eye on events in Westminster over the coming days and may still reconvene the government early.

Parties continue to clash on potential second referendums on Britain leaving the EU and Scotland becoming independent.

Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton told EN4 News that whilst he saw no need for a second Scottish independence referendum, he believes anything could still happen at Westminster, and outlined the Liberal Democrat’s plan going forward.

But Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour insists a second EU referendum would be damaging for the United Kingdom, and that Brexit should be delivered now so that politicians can return to helping their constituents.

What will YOU go as for Halloween?!

Halloween is fast approaching and with only one week to go, it is time to predict what the most popular costumes will be this spooky season!

With some ghoulish returns and some ghastly new faces, here are what I think will be the top 15 costume ideas of 2019.


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Seasonal pumpkin recipes to save waste this Halloween

halloween_leaves_plants_pumpkin-1166734Pumpkin season is just round the corner and what better way to get in the Halloween spirit than trying out our top pumpkin inspired recipes.

Carving pumpkins into lanterns is a tradition that stemmed from Ireland. Originally turnips and potatoes were used but when Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered pumpkins, the ritual was formed

Last year in a Guardian survey, research found that approximately 8 million pumpkins were binned after Halloween in the UK. This was the equivalent of enough pumpkin pie to feed the whole nation.

Follow these seasonal recipes below, to ensure you make the best of your pumpkin leftovers this Halloween.


1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup whole milk
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
Whipped cream in a can, optional

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and sugar mixture. Gradually stir in milk. Pour into pastry shell.
Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 45-50 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Top with whipped cream if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.


Info graphic by Laura McCulloch


One of the best ways to ensure no leftover pumpkin goes to waste this Halloween, is to cook up a hearty bowl of soup.

Follow Jamie Oliver’s Autumn recipe to create ‘glorious roasted pumpkin soup’. https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/glorious-roasted-pumpkin-soup/

• 1.5kg edible pumpkin
• Olive oil
• 1 teaspoon dried chilli
• 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
• 1 large onion
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 carrot
• 1 stick of celery
• 1 litre hot vegetable stock

1.Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Half the pumpkin and remove the seeds (you can keep these for roasting), then chop into wedges. Place the pumpkin on two large baking trays and drizzle over a little olive oil. In a pestle and mortar, grind the chilli and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt until finely ground. Sprinkle the spices over the pumpkin with some black pepper. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour, or until soft and slightly caramelised at the edges.

2.Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat a lug of olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan then add the vegetables and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet but not coloured.




An alternative to handing out bags of sweets and chocolates this 31st is mini pumpkin cupcakes. According to BBC Good Food, these are simple to make and a hit with young children. https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pumpkin_and_rosemary_11109

60ml/2fl oz vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
180g/6½oz self-raising flour
130g/4½oz wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
3 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
100ml/4fl oz plain yoghurt
275ml/10fl oz milk
1 tbsp honey
240g/8½oz cooked pumpkin, cut into ½cm/¼in cubes
handful pumpkin seeds

1.Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Oil a 12-hole muffin tin and line with 12 squares of baking paper. Push the squares down into each hole so that the paper sticks up.

2.Sift the flours, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the salt and rosemary. (Reserve any wholegrain left in the sieve.)
Meanwhile in another bowl, mix the eggs, yoghurt, milk, honey and vegetable oil until well combined.

3.Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold the ingredients together, but be careful not to over-work the mixture. Stir in most of the pumpkin, reserving a little for the top of the muffins. Spoon the mixture into the muffin ca1377700265_bf21568ee7ses.
Sprinkle the reserved wholegrain, pumpkin and the pumpkin seeds over the muffins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.




National News: Lunchtime Headlines Thursday 24th of October

Catch up with the latest National news with our National News Editor Owen Garner.



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