Instagram has introduced a new set of rules regarding the promotion of diet products and cosmetic surgery.
The new rules come in two parts. First of all, diet-related adverts of any description (including anything from detox tea’s to cosmetic procedures) will only be shown to users over the age of 18.
Second: any product which, in Instagram’s words, ‘makes a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products, and is linked to a commercial offer such as a discount code’ will be banned outright.
The debate surrounding diet ads on Instagram has raged for a number of years.
Remember Jameela Jamil telling Kim Kardashian to ‘F**k off’ and calling her a ‘terrible and toxic influence on young girls’, on account of her advertising a weight-loss lolly?
Or, later, when she described the Kardashian’s as ‘double agents for the patriarchy’?
The last year has seen an intense period of activism for Jameela.
An eating disorder survivor herself, she has called out a number of unscrupulous ads, as well as founding ‘I Weigh’ — an Instagram account dedicated to promoting body positivity and ‘radical inclusivity’.
A professor at Harvard even credited Jameela with having done more to expose the fraudulent claims of the detox industry than the FDA (the US Food and Drugs Administration.)
Having worked closely with Instagram in drawing up these new guidelines, it looks like her efforts are finally starting to pay off.
‘Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online sends an important message out to the world,’ Jameela said.
‘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.’
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.’
If one thing’s clear, it’s that some form of action was needed. A 2017 survey suggested that Instagram is the worst app for user’s mental health, and it has also been linked to eating disorders and body image issues.
Whether or not these measures alone will be enough to improve this situation remains to be seen, but they seem like a step in the right direction.
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