Love Island contestant social media ban to halt abuse among new duty of care rules

Kaz Kamwi and Amy Hart former Love Island stars. PA
Former Love Island stars Kaz Kamwi (left) and Amy Hart are among contestants who have been targeted by social media abuse. Credit: PA

Love Island participants will have to press pause on their social media accounts to shield themselves and their families from trolls' abuse while they stay in the villa, ITV has revealed.

Bosses have announced a raft of new Love Island duty of care procedures ahead of the hit reality show's 10th season, due to start this summer.

The series is yet to go a single season without a barrage of audience Ofcom complaints centered around alleged toxic or abusive behaviour from islanders.

Its future has been made more uncertain by the suicides of presenter Caroline Flack in 2020, and former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis in the years prior.

Just last summer on series eight, the family of Luca Bish were forced to turn off Instagram comments on the then-fishmonger's account when "death threats and nasty comments" were left after Bish was accused of bullying and coercive behaviour towards fellow participants.

What are some of the other measures ITV are now putting in place to stop history from repeating itself?

Social media training

There will be a ban on contestants' families or friends running their social media accounts while they take part in the series - a tried and tested practice for series nine in January.

ITV are sticking with the rule, and all of the islanders will also be trained on the impacts of social media, handling negativity and financial matters, before they enter the Love Island villa.

Former Islanders have backed the proactive changes, with season five contestant Amy Hart revealing her family had to read "death threats" sent to her account while they managed her social media for the duration of her stay in the villa.

Amy Hart said her family read 'death threats' while they managed her social media accounts. Credit: PA

She said: "I didn’t really take into account when I went into the villa that although my best friend was really excited to run my social media account, it was me that signed up to do the show, not my family and not my friends.

"But it was them that had to read the death threats and it was them that had to read the horrible messages.

"Whereas when I came out, I came out to a great reaction because of the way that I left, and they were the ones who had a hard time when I was in there.”

Series eight winners Ekin Su and Davide. Credit: PA

"Comprehensive" psychological support

Showrunners have also said participants will receive psychological support and an aftercare package for when they leave the villa.

Prior to appearing on the show, prospective Islanders will also watch a video fronted by the show’s executive producer and head of welfare, interviewing former Islanders about their experiences on the show.

This includes details on the two week period before they enter the villa, how to cope being filmed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the interaction they will have with producers during their time on Love Island.

Support is also provided to family members, dealing with social media trolling, and adapting to life away from the show. 

In-house therapists have been in place for multiple seasons now.

A minimum of eight therapy sessions will be offered to each Islander when they return home.

Series eight finalist Tasha Ghouri added: “I think this is great and needs to be done. I believe it’s 100% the right step in the right direction, I could see there was a lot less trolling and negativity.”

Series five's Amy Hart added: "The welfare team were really supportive after I left. I also had a lot of therapy with the therapist I had in the villa, so it was lovely to have that continuation of care, and ITV were really supportive of that."

Season eight contestant Tasha Ghouri backed the changes as a 'step in the right direction'. Credit: PA

Behaviour and relationship training

Under new measures, all islanders will also complete video training and guidance across a range of topics to include mutually respectful behaviour in relationships, behaviour patterns associated with controlling and coercive behaviour and language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and microaggressions before they meet their fellow contestants.

This will be welcome news for those who have criticised men's treatment of women on the show in the past.

Adam Collard, who in a Love Island first returned to the show in series eight last year after appearing in series four, was given a warning by domestic abuse charity Women's Aid.

He faced extensive backlash from fans in 2018 over the way he treated Rosie Williams.

Women's Aid said there were "clear warning signs in Adam's behaviour" and warned about "emotional abuse".

Speaking after he was evicted in 2018, Collard said he "didn't intentionally try to upset anyone".

Adam Collard (left) prompted a statement from charity Women's Aid during his time in the villa in 2018. Credit: PA

Financial management training

It is no secret how vast the life change can be when contestants exit the show.

From obscurity to stardom overnight, it is protocol to begin a series of TV and club night appearances, with many of the most popular personalities bouncing between other reality TV shows such as Channel 4's Celebs Go Dating.

This, alongside rapidly growing Instagram followings, will bring a large amount of income for people who before may have only worked minimum wage jobs.

Islanders will therefore be given financial management training, as well as advice on taking on general management, for after the show.

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