Social media platform Instagram plans to impose greater restrictions on posts containing content related to diet products and cosmetic surgery.
The move comes amidst growing concern over the impact that posts related to diet, detox and cosmetic surgery can have on young people’s mental health and body image.
Earlier this year, the medical director of the National Health Service England, Stephen Powis, called for a ban on slimming products endorsed by celebrities saying that they were having a damaging effect on the physical and mental health of young people.
Under the new rules, posts promoting “miraculous” weight loss products or cosmetic procedures, which have an incentive to buy or include a price, will be hidden from users known to be under 18-years-of-age. The new measures will see diet or weight-loss posts containing a commercial offer or discount code will now be removed.
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The changes will allow users to report posts they think violate the new rules, which the platform will then review and make a judgement on. Facebook, which owns Instagram, will also apply the new rules to its site.
Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, 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.”
Actress and body positivity campaigner, Jameela Jamil, said the move was a “huge win” in the fight against the diet and detox industry. Jamil, who founded the I Weigh movement and has publicly criticised celebrities promoting these laxative laced diet products, said the new rules were a victory for mental health advocates.
Many of Jamil’s social media followers have welcomed the move with some calling for Instagram to apply these same rules to skin whitening products.
“This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry,” she said. “Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online sends an important message out to the world.
“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.
“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.”