Instagram says that from this week it will place restrictions on posts linked to particular diet products and cosmetic surgery procedures, and in some cases remove them entirely. The new rules will also affect Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.
The move comes in response to an uptick in marketing posts by popular influencers on the photo-sharing site — specifically those promoting products such as diet drinks and supplements, as well some cosmetic surgery procedures. It’s believed that such posts increase pressure on some younger users, compounding worries about body image or how they should live their lives.
Posts that promote certain weight loss products or feature deals or prices for cosmetic surgery will now be removed from the feeds of Instagrammers below the age of 18, or removed from the platform entirely, the company told London’s Evening Standard on Wednesday. Similar products that claim to offer “miraculous” results will also be removed, Instagram said.
“The policy means that posts promoting products such as diet teas with a caption like ‘this helped me to lose 10 pounds really fast’ with a discount code to purchase will be removed,” the Standard said in its report.
A further measure involves a new way to enable people to report posts that appear to flout the guidelines but which have not been picked up by Instagram’s algorithms.
Branded “miracle” claims
Emma Collins, Instagram’s Public Policy Manager, told the Standard: “It’s not in the interest of the broader community to be exposed to these kind of branded ‘miracle’ claims. 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.”
Some, however, will question the effectiveness of the age restriction as it relies on the honesty of young users when they set up their account.
In other comments posted by the Guardian, Collins said that Instagram had sought guidance from experts in the relevant fields “to ensure that any steps to restrict and remove this content will have a positive impact on our community of over one billion people … whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion.”
Digital Trends has reached out to Instagram for more details about its decision to restrict posts relating to some forms of dieting and cosmetic surgery and we will update this article if we hear back.