September 20, 2019
Instagram is cracking down on questionable weight-loss ads and cosmetic surgery
Instagram doesn't want teens seeing questionable weightloss product ads on its platform, so it's doing something about it.
The Facebook-owned tech company announced on Wednesday that it's removing some posts that relate to diet products and cosmetic surgery. It's also imposing age restrictions on some types of body image-related content.
That means Instagram influencers who promote teas that promise to reduce belly fat or celebrities who advertise lip plumping kits may have those posts taken down.
Emma Collins, Instagram's public policy manager, told the London Evening Standard that the platform is rolling out updated community guidelines and having collaborative conversations with influencers who promote diet products so they are aware of the changes.
"It's not in the interest of the broader community to be exposed to these kind of branded miracle claims," Collins told the UK-based publication.
"We've also gone a step further where young people are concerned and the action that we're taking for under 18s is that any branded promotion of weight loss products or undertaking of cosmetic procedures will be restricted so under 18s won't see them."
The announcement comes after Jameela Jamil, a British actress on NBC's "The Good Place" who has over 2 million followers, had discussions with Instagram for months about protecting young people from "fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims," she said in an Instagram post.
Jamil said the goal was to create a "safer space for us all online."
"This happened so much faster than I expected and I'm so proud and happy and relieved," Jamil posted on Thursday. "This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference."
Instagram also consulted with Ysabel Gerrard, a digital media professor at the University of Sheffield, prior to making the change in its policy.
Gerrard tweeted that she also worked with a team of academics and activists (including Jamil) "to change how users under the age of 18 see posts about 'miraculous' diet and weight loss products and certain cosmetic procedures."
Gerrard said Instagram will remove posts that make a "miraculous claim" about a diet or weight loss product. The social media platform said in a statement that users will be able to flag posts they believe are in violation of the rules in the coming weeks.
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