Tumblr and Pinterest ban users who promote self harm

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two popular social media sites are taking a stand against people who promote harming themselves. One says it will take down anyone who glorifies eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia to suicide. It has received a mixed reaction from the online community.

The two sites that have internet users talking are Pinterest and Tumblr. Millions of users belong to each one. There is an overwhelming amount of information on both sites that glorifies self harm activities, particularly eating disorders.

Some people are for prohibiting the posts while others say it violates their rights.

The micro blogging website Tumblr says people are using words to hurt themselves.

"They are looking for someone to support their efforts to continue their eating disorder and they're finding that through these online communities," said Ashley Grizzard, a junior board member for the Eating Disorder Coalition.

Tumblr says it is now taking down blogs glorifying self-harming activities, including people who encourage eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

Another site, Pinterest, where users can pin information, links and photos, has also issued a ban against self-harm.

Grizzard is all for the ban. She overcame anorexia about seven years ago.

"It's a mental illness. It's a real mental illness," she said. "And it's just overcoming them. 80% of eating disorders are biologically based and so even reading different people's comments can actually trigger an eating disorder among people who are vulnerable but haven't had an eating disorder ever in their lives."

While Tumblr issued the policy change about a month ago, you can still find some of those bloggers promoting their eating disorder.

Tumblr does say it will not act against blogs that "engage in discussion and support" for those who suffer from the condition, but Grizzard says even those blogs shouldn't be online.

"They should go to the Eating Disorders Coalition website or the National Eating Disorders Association website because a lot of these blogs will have inaccurate information," said Grizzard.

Some users against the policy change say this move goes against their first amendment rights and is censorship. A University of Richmond law professor we spoke to today says Tumblr is a private company and can ban certain blogs. The First Amendment restricts the actions of the government not private parties.

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