Instagram has heard our prayers! The social media app is FINALLY blocking posts about plastic surgery and weight-loss products from reaching the feeds of users under the age of 18. These new guidelines will apply to Instagram users worldwide, and state that the "use of certain weight loss products or cosmetics procedures, which have an incentive to buy or include a price" will only be shown to users over 18. And posts that "make a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products, and are linked to a commercial offer such as a discount code" will also be banned.
Hurray! As an advocate for body confidence, I cannot stress enough how important this move is. Users – especially those under 18 – are so vulnerable and susceptible to weight loss suggestions. Many will try anything they can to lose weight so when they see a new 'miracle' product, it's music to their ears. I know because I've been there – during school, I bought every single product from the 'weight management' aisle in Boots. And then when I discovered online shopping, I purchased all kinds of metabolism boosters, appetite suppressants, water retention pills, powders that make you unable to absorb fat… You name it, I tried it. And all I lost was money and a little bit more of my already rock-bottom self-esteem and confidence.
"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," said Emma Collins, Instagram's public policy manager.
"We've sought guidance from external experts, including Dr Ysabel Gerrard in the UK, to make sure any steps to restrict and remove the content will have a positive impact on our community of over one billion people around the world – whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion."
Actress Jameela Jamil, who founded Instagram movement iWeigh and is responsible for calling out countless celebs for their weight loss promotions, also helped Instagram form these new guidelines.
"This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry," she said in a statement. "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."
Thank you, Instagram! A big, necessary move that will benefit so many.