Facebook, Google, Snapchat and Instagram partner with Samaritans

Facebook, Google, Snapchat and Instagram partner with Samaritans

Four of Silicon Valley’s biggest social media firms have been strong-armed into meeting with the Samaritans as part of a renewed effort to purge harmful content from their platforms.

The initiative comes at the behest of health secretary Matt Hancock in an effort to find new ways of purging self-harm videos and other content from the web as part of government measures to make social media firms more accountable for harmful content.

Facebook responded by updating its policies on suicide, self-harm and eating disorders to ensure that such content is removed.

Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of the Samaritans, said: "There is no black and white solution that protects the public from content on self-harm and suicide, as they are such specific and complex issues."

"That is why we need to work together with tech platforms to identify and remove harmful content while being extremely mindful that sharing certain content can be an important source of support for some.”

The latest flurry of activity was precipitated by the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell in 2017, which was later linked to malign content viewed on Instagram.

As part of its crackdown, the UK government has threatened to impose fines against facilitating harmful content and new measures to prevent companies targeting unsuitable ads at children.

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