Instagram said it will start to hide posts that promote cosmetic surgery and diet products from under 18s and will even remove social posts that promote any “miraculous” weight loss products in a bid to reduce the pressure felt as a result of social media. These new policies will also impact Facebook, which owns Instagram. The policies follow increasing concerns about the impact promoting these kinds of products has on younger people, with posts promoting the likes of detox tea, lollipops, and diet supplements littering the social media platform. Body positivity campaigners are pleased with this step in the right direction from Instagram. Jameela Jamil, the founder of the I Weigh movement welcomed the changes that the tech giant has made to protect young people. According to a statement, Jamil worked with Instagram and other experts to bring about the changes on the platform.  

Call for action

Instagram’s advertising guidelines and policies never allowed for the promotion of such products, according to its official statement but increasing posts of this kind from influencers and celebrities has called for additional action. Users will now be able to report posts they think may violate the new policies, and Instagram will then review them and decide whether they should be removed or simply restricted. Under 18s won’t be able to see posts that are related to dieting and cosmetic surgery if they have commercial intent. Emma Collins, UK public policy manager, Instagram 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.”These restrictions are only applied to users that are younger than 18. However, users only have to tick a box to declare whether they are over 18 or not as opposed to entering their date of birth details and this isn’t verified. If a user signs up through Facebook, the information is pulled through from their Facebook profile. The press release also stated that the policy will “evolve as needed but we believe this is a positive step in protecting people on Instagram.”

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