Entertainment

Love Island contestants will be banned from any social media activity to shield themselves and their families from online abuse while they stay in the villa this summer.

ITV bosses have announced new duty of care procedures for the cast ahead of the hit reality show’s 10th season, due to start in a few weeks.

The social media ban was trialled during the show’s winter series earlier this year, with contestants not allowed to let their loved ones update their online accounts while in the villa in a bid to reduce trolling.

The dating show has previously sparked a barrage of audience Ofcom complaints over alleged toxic or abusive behaviour among participants.

It has also come under scrutiny in recent years following the suicides of presenter Caroline Flack in 2020, as well as former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis in the years prior.

Bosses have now formally introduced the social media ban for the summer series, asking participants to pause their accounts for the duration of their time on the show, to ensure that both they and their families are protected from online abuse.

Series five islander Amy Hart said her family and friends had to read death threats aimed towards her while she was in the villa.

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.”

Meanwhile, series eight finalist Tasha Ghouri described the move as “great and needs to be done”.

She added: “I believe it’s 100% the right step in the right direction, I could see there was a lot less trolling and negativity.”

Before going on the show, islanders will complete video training and guidance across a range of topics including 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.

Love Island’s producers have also said participants will receive psychological support and an aftercare package for when they leave the villa.

Prospective islanders will also watch a video fronted by the show’s executive producer and head of welfare, interviewing former contestants about their experiences in the villa.

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This will include how to cope with being filmed 24/7 and the interaction they will have with producers during their time on Love Island.

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

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Love Island star: ‘My DMs are scary’

In-house therapists have been in place for multiple seasons now, with a minimum of eight therapy sessions offered to each contestant when they return home.

On the show’s welfare procedures, series seven winner Liam Reardon said: “I found the welfare chats helpful as it gave us a chance to have a small break from villa life and being able to talk to someone off camera.

“It was nice to speak to someone every few days who wasn’t in the villa and who were there to just listen or offer advice.

“The psychiatrists were a big help too for when times got a little hard.”

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.”

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