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Molly Russell: Social media a think about teenager’s loss of life, coroner says

Molly RussellRussell household

Unsafe on-line content material contributed “in a more than minimal way” to the loss of life of a lady who took her personal life, an inquest has discovered.

Senior coroner Andrew Walker mentioned materials considered by 14-year-old Molly Russell on social media “shouldn’t have been available for a child to see”.

Molly, from Harrow, considered 1000’s of photos of self-harm and suicide earlier than she died in November 2017.

Mr Walker mentioned: “It would not be safe to leave suicide as a conclusion.”

He informed North London Coroner’s Court: “She died from an act of self-harm while suffering from depression and the negative effects of online content.”

Ian Russell, Molly'S Father

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Molly’s father Ian Russell mentioned after the listening to: “In the last week we’ve heard much about one tragic story – Molly’s story. Sadly, there are too many others similarly affected right now.

“At this level I simply need to say nonetheless darkish it appears, there may be all the time hope, and if you happen to’re struggling please communicate to somebody you belief or one of many many fantastic assist organisations, reasonably than interact with on-line content material that could be dangerous.

“Please do what you can to live long and stay strong.”

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In a press release after the coroner’s conclusion, NSPCC chief govt Sir Peter Wanless mentioned: “This should send shockwaves through Silicon Valley – tech companies must expect to be held to account when they put the safety of children second to commercial decisions.

“The magnitude of this second for kids in every single place can’t be understated.”

Molly Russell

Russell household

Mr Walker said Molly, who had a depressive illness and was vulnerable due to her age, had been able to access content that was “most distressing”.

The senior coroner will now compile a report outlining his concerns. He is to write to Meta – the owner of Instagram – and Pinterest, as well as the government and Ofcom.

The head of health and wellbeing at Meta, Elizabeth Lagone, and Pinterest’s head of community operations, Judson Hoffman, appeared in person to give evidence during the teenager’s inquest. Mr Hoffman conceded Pinterest was “not protected” when Molly used it, and said he “deeply regrets” a few of the content material {the teenager} considered.

Ms Lagone said posts described by the Russell family as “encouraging” suicide or self-harm were safe, but conceded a number of posts shown to the court would have violated Instagram’s policies.

Russell Family

PA Media

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Remarks made by senior coroner Andrew Walker

“Molly Rose Russell died on 21 November 2017. Molly was 14 years previous.

“Molly appeared a normal, healthy girl who was flourishing at school, having settled well into secondary school life and displayed an enthusiastic interest in the performing arts.

“However, Molly had grow to be depressed, a standard situation affecting kids of this age. This then worsened right into a depressive sickness.

“Molly subscribed to numerous on-line websites.

“At the time that these websites had been considered by Molly a few of these websites weren’t protected as they allowed entry to grownup content material that ought to not have been obtainable for a 14-year-old little one to see.

“The way that the platforms operated meant that Molly had access to images, video clips and text concerning or concerned with self-harm, suicide or that were otherwise negative or depressing in nature.

“The platform operated in such a means utilizing algorithms as to end result, in some circumstances, of binge durations of photos, video-clips and textual content, a few of which had been chosen and supplied with out Molly requesting them.

“These binge periods, if involving this content, are likely to have had a negative effect of Molly.

“Some of this content material romanticised acts of self-harm by younger individuals on themselves. Other content material sought to isolate and discourage dialogue with those that might have been capable of assist.

“Molly turned to celebrities for help, not realising there was little prospect of a reply.

“In some instances, the content material was significantly graphic, tending to painting self-harm and suicide as an inevitable consequence of a situation that might not be recovered from.

“The sites normalised her condition, focusing on a limited and irrational view without any counterbalance of normality.”

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