If you follow a few Instagram influencers, then I’m sure you’ve seen your share of weight loss products, such as “meal replacement shakes” and “detox teas”. Well, you might start seeing less of them very soon. Instagram has started rolling out new community guidelines detailing which type of weight loss products and cosmetic procedures can be promoted on the app.
Under its new guidelines, posts that promote the “use of certain weight loss products or cosmetic procedures, and has an incentive to buy or includes a price,” will not be shown to users under the age of 18. And content that “makes a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products, and is linked to a commercial offer such as a discount code” will no longer be allowed.
The initiative is backed by actress and founder of the Instagram movement iWeigh, Jameela Jamil. Jameela is vocal about influencers and celebrities roll in diet culture and body confidence. She said in a statement, “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. 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.”
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THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️
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Many of the weight-loss products advertised on Instagram have harmful side effects, which influencers obviously don’t disclose. The detox teas that promise flatter tummies and less bloating can have you running to the toilet due to them acting as a laxative. And in actual fact have very little to do with fat loss but will rather have you losing water weight — which you’ll gain back.
There have been numerous studies on the effects social media has on our mental health and self-esteem. Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills.
Instagram has taken these studies into account, and have dedicated to bettering their user’s mental health. For example, their help centre has a dedicated tab that informs users about eating disorders, how to help a loved one to might be suffering from one and helplines to contact.
Instagram’s public policy manager, Emma Collins, said in a statement on Wednesday that the changes were aimed at dealing with the growing industry of influencer marketing on the platform.
“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,” Collins said.