Instagram announced a big change this week in hopes of making their app a more positive community to those under the age of 18. Effective within the next few weeks, the social media platform will now be blocking weight loss advertisements, as well as other promotions for intense cosmetic procedures. Instagram has decided that they want their environment to be “a positive place for everyone that uses it”, according to public policy manager Emma Collins.
Since the app was first launched in 2010, social media influencers, as well as big name celebrities, have been the target of weight loss companies. The Kardashian-Jenner sisters are just some of the many that have joined the trend of promoting these products. While many stars are in favor of these advertisements, British actress and radio presenter Jameela Jamil has been taking a stand against it and has been very vocal in sharing her support for the new policy. In fact, Jamil ridiculed Kim Kardashian-West back in May 2019, calling her a “terrible and toxic influence on young girls” over a Twitter rant. The comment came shortly after Kardashian-West advertised “appetite suppressant lollipops.”
“Influencers have to be more responsible,” wrote Jamil, who is very open about her past struggles with eating disorders. Jamil is now the founder of the i Weigh movement, which is a project that allows women to focus on their achievements in life rather than their weight.
The policy will be active on Facebook, as well.
Two major issues arise with these advertisements, them being the issues of body dysmorphia in young children, as well as these products that are being promoted are not FDA approved. The young people that are seeing these ads are unaware of the potential dangers and side effects that come with the products. Nothing should be purchased or consumed without talking to a doctor beforehand. As for body dysmorphia, the young mind is more subject to the scary condition since their brains are not fully developed.
This isn’t Instagram’s first step towards tackling mental health. There have also been talks about the platform getting rid of likes, and the idea has even been tested in different countries. They also introduced a setting that allows users to track their time spent on the app, as well as limit their Instagram use.
At the end of the day, Instagram wants to do whats best for everyone, which includes them wanting influencers to encourage self love instead of promote insecurities. With this new policy, they believe they are taking a step in the right direction to doing so.