Remove Posts Depicting Self-Harm and Provide Options to Report Abuse

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Remove Posts Depicting Self-Harm and Provide Options to Report Abuse

This petition had 1 supporter

Petition statement: Implement stricter policies limiting the publication of content promoting self-harm or suicide and introduce a report abuse option beneath each post.

Overview:

In recent years, people of all ages have come to rely on social media sites more often as media to express themselves; Tumblr is one such site. Tumblr is an online forum where members have the freedom to vent their feelings to an internet audience through blogs or images and  connect with other members to share ideas. In theory, it is a harmless institution. However, there have been many problems lately of  users posting potentially harmful content promoting subjects such as self-harm and suicide which may pose a threat to other users. In order to protect impressionable users who might be influenced by these posts,  Tumblr should tighten its policies concerning what isn’t acceptable to post and include a “report abuse” option so that members who come across questionable content can get authorities involved.

Why is some some content harmful?

As troubled teens and adults find themselves at particularly hard times in their lives, they will often turn to social media for support rather than seeking help from loved ones or professionals.  However, instead of comfort, they are often met with graphic depictions of self-harm and posts encouraging, if not glorifying, suicide. By dramatizing suicide and self-harm methods, social media sites are spreading suicidal impulses from user to user, affecting people who are already suffering from depression and other mental disorders. This suicide “contagion”, as it is often called, is a growing issue that can only be combated by encouraging those suffering from mental disorders to seek help from professionals in person and by restricting the content which will be seen by at-risk teens and adults.

Tumblr’s current policy:

While Tumblr discourages posts promoting self-harm, its community guidelines for 2014 state that only content that explicitly promotes self-harm will be removed. True to its word, Tumblr has left up many gory images and negative posts which could trigger dangerous responses from someone suffering from a mental disorder, although most do not actively encourage the viewer to harm themselves. It is to Tumblr’s credit that it has banned certain keywords that may lead the user to online communities promoting self-harm. It is to Tumblr’s credit that it now displays public service announcements encouraging the user to seek help whenever words such as “depressed” or “suicidal” are searched. However, the fact that Tumblr allows communities promoting these things to exist and thrive is not acceptable to us, the concerned members of the social media community. To fully hinder the spread of suicidal ideas  throughout social media sites such as Tumblr, we must remove these harmful online communities and replace them with communities that will provide real support for troubled members. Banned keywords and a warning screen are not enough.

Policing Tumblr:

While not all posts referencing suicide and self-harm are meant to be malicious, they can still affect easily influenced users who may be inspired to harm themselves to gain attention. In order to facilitate the policing of content on Tumblr, we believe that under each post, there should be an option to “report abuse”. That way, users have the ability to refer content  which they consider inappropriate to Tumblr authorities for review. After reviewing the content, Tumblr would be able to make the ultimate decision of whether or not the post should be removed from the site. This method would allow Tumblr users to have a greater control over what they deem to be appropriate content, and it would help Tumblr authorities to locate and remove harmful communities before they gain momentum.

Conclusion:

Many people may argue that so strictly limiting the spread of creativity and ideas throughout Tumblr violates the entire ideology of the site: that people should be allowed to express themselves freely. However, when communities made up of disturbed individuals attempt to target depressed and suicidal users and encourage them to harm themselves, we must draw the line in order to protect victims and save lives.

Petition Closed

This petition had 1 supporter