Instagram announces new policies for promoting diet products, cosmetic procedures

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(ABC News) — Instagram announced new policies for promoting certain weight loss products and cosmetic procedures on its platform and in some cases the problematic content will be removed entirely.

The Facebook-owned social media giant and the influencers who use it to do business have caused controversy for how diet or detox teas and other “miraculous” weight-loss products have been promoted.

Kim Kardashian West has even come under fire for promoting so-called appetite suppressant lollipops to her more than 100 million followers on Instagram, as have a number of other high profile Instagram users.

PHOTO: Facebook Inc.s Instagram application is displayed in the App Store on an iPhone in in Arlington, Va., April 29, 2019.
Facebook Inc.s Instagram application is displayed in the App Store on an iPhone in in Arlington, Va., April 29, 2019.

Under the new policies, people can report certain weight loss products or cosmetic procedures and if the post includes a price or incentive to buy it, Instagram said they will restrict people they know to be under 18 from seeing the post.

Moreover, if the post contains a “miraculous” claim about a diet or weight loss product and is linked to a commercial offer, it will be removed from Instagram, the company said on Wednesday.

“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,” Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, said in a statement.

Collins added that they have sought guidance from outside experts to “make sure any steps to restrict and remove this content will have a positive impact on our community of over 1 billion people around the world – whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion.”P

“Good Place” actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil, who has been outspokenly calling out social media companies for allegedly promoting unhealthy habits in young women, responded to the news in a statement released by Instagram.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Jamil, who is also the founder of the “I Weigh” advocacy group, said she had protested and petitioned Instagram in the past and lauded the platform for moving “so efficiently” to enact change.

“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,” she added, calling the policy changes a “day of hope for our generation, who deserve respect and protection from the celebrities and influencers that they follow.”

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