Encouraging self-harm to be criminalised in Online Safety Bill

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Molly. Russell was aged 14 when she died in 2017 after viewing suicide and self-harm content
By Charley Adams
BBC News

The encouragement of self-harm will be criminalised in an update to the Online Safety Bill, the authorities has said

Content. that encourages someone to bodily hurt will be focused in a new offence, making it illegal

The. authorities reported the ameliorations had been influenced by the case of Molly Russell – the 14-year-old who ended her life in November 2017

Culture. Secretary Michelle Donelan reported she was strengthening the invoice “to make definite these vile acts are stamped out”.

“I am determined that the abhorrent trolls encouraging the younger and susceptible to self-harm are introduced to justice,” she said

Molly. Russell, from Harrow in north-west London, took. her own life after viewing suicide and self-harm content on Instagram and Pinterest.

Her father has formerly criticised. delays to the Online Safety Bill and called for online platforms to cease self-regulating their content material.

At the inquest, the coroner concluded the schoolgirl died whereas struggling from the “negative effects of online content”.

In October, Coroner Andrew Walker wrote. to social media firms and the government to name for ameliorations together with separate platforms for adults and kids.

Ms Donelan reported social media firms could no longer be “silent bystanders” and they would face fines for “allowing this abusive and destructive behaviour to continue”.

She reported the update to the Online Safety Bill would create a new offence, bringing self-harm content material in line with communications that encourage suicide – which is already unlawful.

The modification would mean social media platforms would be required to remove self-harm content material and any individual discovered to have such content material would face persecution.

More details about the highest penalty would be published in due course, the authorities reported.

The NSPCC’s Richard Collard reported it was “good news” the authorities was recognising the risks of kids being uncovered to online content material selling self-harm

But. he reported a “culture of compliance and accountability” from technology firms that have allowed this variety of content material “to unfold like wild fire” was needed

The. Online Safety Bill is due to return to Parliament in early December, following a number of delays.

The digital division reported it could not say when the amendments would be tabled.

Earlier this week the authorities announced different new offences being added to the invoice that would crack down on the sharing of intimate photographs without consent.

Representative’s from both Pinterest and Meta, Instagram’s father or mother company, gave proof in the course of Molly Russell’s inquest.

Meta executive Elizabeth Lagone reported she believed posts seen by Molly, which her household say “encourage” suicide, have been safe, but the firm agreed that regulation was needed.

Judson Hoffman of Pinterest informed the inquest the site was “not safe” when the institution girl was using it. The firm reported it was “committed” to making ongoing advancements to support make sure the platform is “safe for everyone”.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab reported “lives and families” had been destroyed by “those who encourage susceptible web users to self-harm”

“Our. ameliorations will make sure the full force of the legislation applies to these callous and reckless people who try to manipulate the susceptible online in this way,” Mr Raab said

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