LONDON: A 14-year-old British girl died from an act of self-harm while suffering from the “negative effects of online content”, a coroner said on Friday, in a case that has shone a spotlight on social media companies.
Molly Russell was “exposed to material that may have influenced her in a negative way and, in addition, what had started as a depression had become a more serious depressive illness,” Andrew Walker ruled at North London Coroner’s Court.
The teenager “died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression”, he said, but added it would not be “safe” to conclude it was suicide. Some of the content she viewed was “particularly graphic” and “normalised her condition,” said Walker.
Of the 16,300 posts Russell saved, shared or liked on Instagram in the six-month period before her death, 2,100 related to depression, self-harm or suicide, the inquest was told. Russell, from Harrow in northwest London, died in November 2017, leading her family to set up a campaign highlighting the dangers of social media.