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The father of a schoolgirl who committed suicide has accused Instagram of helping to kill her.
Ian Russell said 14-year-old Molly took her own life after looking at pictures on the social network that glorified self-harm and suicide.
Molly was found dead just hours after handing in her homework and returning to her family home, where she had packed a bag to go to school the next day.
In a devastating note, she told her parents and two sisters: ‘I’m sorry. I did this because of me.’
Speaking publicly about her death for the first time, Mr Russell said last night: ‘I have no doubt that Instagram helped kill my daughter. She had so much to offer and that’s gone.’
His criticism of the photo-sharing site, which is owned by Facebook, comes after experts warned Instagram helped to glorify self-harm among vulnerable youngsters.
Last night hundreds of thousands of images depicting people harming themselves and discussing suicide could be viewed on the site, which is hugely popular among teenagers.
Mr Russell said Molly, who went to Hatch End High School in Harrow, Middlesex, had started viewing disturbing posts on the social network without the family’s knowledge.
He told the BBC: ‘She seemed to be a very ordinary teenager. She was future-looking. She was enthusiastic.
‘She handed her homework in that night. She packed her bags and was preparing to go to school the next day and then when we woke up the next morning, she was dead.’
It was only after her death in 2017 that the teenager’s parents delved into her social media accounts and realized she was viewing distressing images.
Instagram said: ‘Our thoughts go out to Molly’s family and anyone dealing with the issues raised. We do not allow content that promotes or glorifies eating disorders, self-harm or suicide and work hard to remove it.
‘However, for many young people, discussing their mental health journey or connecting with others who have battled similar issues, is an important part of their recovery.
‘This is why we don’t remove certain content and instead offer people looking at, or posting it, support when they might need it most.’