If you follow even just a few Instagram influencers, you’ve probably seen many ads on your feed for weight loss products, such as “appetite suppressant lollipops” and “detox teas.” After today, you may see fewer of them. That’s because Instagram is rolling out community guidelines detailing what type of weight loss products and cosmetic procedures can be promoted on the app. Oh, and they'll apply to Instagram users worldwide.
Under the 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 only be shown to users over 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. Over the coming weeks, Instagram will introduce the option to report posts that violate the new guidelines.
Jameela Jamil — The Good Place actress, founder of the Instagram movement iWeigh, and a vocal critic of IG weight loss ads — consulted with Instagram on the new guidelines. 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.”
She added, “Instagram were supportive and helpful when I brought them my protests and petitions, they listened, they cared, they moved so efficiently, and communicated with us throughout the process. As someone who struggled with an eating disorder for most of my youth, I’ve personally known and suffered the perils of the devious side of the diet/detox industry. A focus of our advocacy since inception, it is a proud day for 'I Weigh' and a day of hope for our generation, who deserve respect and protection from the celebrities and influencers that they follow.”
These new community guidelines are the most recent move Instagram has made to help address mental health. In 2018, the platform introduced a set of tools allowing users to track the time they spent on Instagram each day, and earlier this year, they began testing the removal of “like" counts in certain countries.