Advertisers respond to Instagram suicide link revelations

Instagram parent Facebook has already apologised for hosting the graphic content

Advertisers and brands have been singled out by a BBC News investigation, which revealed they had been appearing alongside Instagram posts promoting suicide and self-harm.

In a statement the ISBA deplored such associations and demanded that an independent, industry funded body be established to certify content appropriate for advertising.

It said: “As responsible advertisers, our members would never choose to be associated with such material and having spoken to the brands highlighted in the BBC piece, they are keen to understand how this has happened and what they can do to prevent it.

“Today, advertising in the news feed is targeted to the individual and there is no control over what else appears with it. Advertisers are therefore reliant on the strength of Facebook’s and Instagram’s content moderation policies and the effectiveness of their implementation. The self-moderation of content by individual companies continues to be a serious part of the problem.

“This is why for some time we have been calling for proper oversight – an independent, industry funded body that sets ethical principles, certifies content policies and processes, audits transparency reporting and provides an appeals process.”

Instagram parent Facebook has already apologised for hosting the graphic content designed to encourage self-harm and suicide, avowing that such content "has no place on our platform".

This follows the death of 14-year old Molly Russell whose death in 2017 has been partially attributed to malign Instagram accounts hosting disturbing pictures and videos, some of which appeared alongside adverts for the likes of Marks & Spencer, The Post Office and the British Heart Foundation.

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