February 1, 2023
The father of Molly Russell, a girl who committed suicide in 2017 after suffering depression when she was 14, said on Monday the social media reaction to which her role in the tragedy was cited was “inconclusive”: Molly Russell died at November 2017. Trying to understand her motives for the move, her relatives discovered that on social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest, she was exposed to a lot of material that led to suicide, depression and self-harm.

At the end of September 2022, the British judiciary spoke about the role of content viewed by a teenager in her suicide after the procedure, which revived the debate about the impact of these platforms and their algorithms. The investigator in charge of the case’s litigation then sent out a report to companies such as Meta, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat, as well as to the UK government, calling for a review of the algorithms the sites use to present content.

But the social media reaction has been “inconclusive and unsurprising,” Molly’s father Ian Russell said in an interview with Britain’s PA agency published on Monday. “Answers vary but are generally inconclusive and seem to me to point to a continuation of the usual platform approach,” he added.

Russell pointed out that the suggestions Meta made in his response to the investigator in charge of the file, including sending notifications urging users to take a break from social media and think about what they are writing before posting any comment, are not enough. “Of course, this is a step forward and a catalyst, but is it really enough to make significant changes?” he asked, adding: “These are really minor measures.”

During the investigation into the cause of Molly’s death, the judicial authorities considered that the content the girl was watching was “unsafe” and “should never be accessible to a child.” Instead of qualifying her death as a suicide, the investigator in the case considered that the girl “died as a result of an act of self-harm, suffering from depression and the negative impact of visual content on the Internet.”

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