Instagram will restrict posts promoting weight-loss products or cosmetic surgery

Platform will implement age restrictions on certain posts 

Chelsea Ritschel
Wednesday 18 September 2019 21:13 BST
Instagram to restrict content that promotes diet products or cosmetic surgery (Stock)
Instagram to restrict content that promotes diet products or cosmetic surgery (Stock)

Instagram posts promoting weight-loss teas and cosmetic procedures will soon be banned under the social media platform’s new policy.

On Wednesday, Instagram announced it would be rolling out restrictions on posts for diet products and cosmetic surgery in an effort to combat the negative impact the platform is having on body image.

According to the platform, under the new policy, which will also apply to Facebook, posts that promote weight-loss products or cosmetic surgery with incentives to buy will be subjected to age restrictions that will bar users under 18 from viewing.

Additionally, posts for weight-loss products that make a “miraculous claim” and are linked to commercial offers such as a discount code will be banned or removed.

Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, said the company worked with external experts to make the changes.

She said: “We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media.

“We've sought guidance from external experts, including Dr Ysabel Gerrard in the UK, to make sure any steps to restrict and remove this content will have a positive impact on our community of over one billion people around the world – whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion.”

Following the announcement, outspoken body positivity activist Jameela Jamil called the policy a “huge win”.

Jamil, who regularly calls out fellow celebrities for promoting potentially harmful diet products, said: “This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry. Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online sends an important message out to the world.”

The actress, who started the body-positive I Weigh movement in response to the number of diet products she was seeing on social media, was among those working with Instagram to implement the changes.

“I’m thrilled to have been able to work towards this with them, alongside a host of other experts who shed light on the danger of these products,” she said. “Instagram were supportive and helpful when I brought them my protests and petitions; they listened, they cared, they moved so efficiently, and communicated with us throughout the process.”

Instagram’s announcement comes after increasing concern over the impact social media is having on body image.

In May, the Mental Health Foundation surveyed 4,505 adults and found that one in eight had considered taking their own lives because of concerns related to body image.

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The survey also found that nearly half of the 18 to 24-year-olds blamed social media for their anxieties about their appearance.

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