Social media giants could face prosecution if they promote self-harm material

SOCIAL media companies failing kids by ­promoting self-harm content will be prosecuted under plans to make it a crime.

Tech firms, including Facebook and Twitter, face a clampdown to help end the spread of disturbing images, videos and comments.

Ministers have asked the Law Commission to develop proposals to make the practice of encouraging self-harm and suicide illegal.

Horrific material contributed to the death of 14-year-old Molly ­Russell, below, who took her own life in 2017.

Her family found graphic posts on her Instagram account.

Her dad Ian has said without any criminal liability the new regulations would be “half-hearted” and tougher measures will help “focus minds”.

The promotion of material showing self-harm and suicide would be classed as “illegal harms”.

The firms would be forced to take action or face criminal sanctions if they fail to act. Proposals are expected to be put forward early next year. Law chiefs will look at the harm incited and the intent by the person inciting the action.

The Sun says

SOCIAL media giants such as Facebook and Twitter will finally be forced to live up to their promises.

For too long, they have vowed to rid sites of sick images that endanger our kids, only to drag their feet. Now ministers have asked law chiefs to class self-harming images as “illegal harms”.

Either they remove self-harm and suicide videos or face criminal prosecution.

It is high time for the law to catch up with the arrogant tech titans running these sites.

They will not seek to criminalise help for vulnerable people who rely on support groups.

A source said: “A child seeing, and worse, being ‘suggested’ self-harm material is every parent’s nightmare.

“It’s right we act on this, and make sure tech firms are in no doubt this stuff must not be on their platforms.”

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