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Breck Foundation statement: "Every single social media company must look at Molly’s tragic death"

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Molly, pictured as a young child: from BBC

Today Coroner Andrew Walker declared that 14-year-old Molly Russell’s death was directly fuelled by the negative effects of online content she was recklessly exposed to by Meta and Pinterest.

This inquest is a watershed moment for holding big tech companies responsible for negligent inaction over child content rules, but it should never have had to happen. If Meta and Pinterest had regulations in place to make their platforms safer for children Molly could be alive today, but they place protecting profits over protecting children. Every single social media company must look at Molly’s tragic death and change the way they deploy algorithms in their pursuit of profitable engagement. It is time for an urgent review of the approach to legal but harmful content on all social media platforms.

It is unacceptable that for years unregulated platforms have been free to show children horrendous pro-suicide and pro-self harm content; we need change NOW, not just in big tech but in Government. If our Parliament does not enshrine the Online Safety Bill into law as soon as possible, just like Meta and Pinterest, they will fail our children.

We echo Molly's father, Ian Russell's hope that this will be an "important step in bringing about much needed change". We look forward to growing our partnership with the Molly Rose Foundation and together making the internet a safer place for all children.

We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Ian Russell and all of Molly's family.


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