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Photo sharing platform Instagram has imposed stricter rules on posts endorsing diet products and cosmetic surgery.
Under the new rules, certain weight-loss and cosmetic surgery contents that offer discounts will be restricted to users registered below 18 years of age. In addition, posts that advertise “miracle” weight-loss products or those promising instant weight-loss effects will be taken down. Instagram users can also report posts that do not abide by these new rules.
An Instagram representative said that the platform decided to implement the new rules to provide a positive environment for its users and lessen the pressure to look perfect.
Previously, several studies have found that frequent use of social media platforms like Instagram might be causing some mental health illnesses and eating disorders among teenagers and young adults. Advocates of body positivity—the movement that promotes acceptance of the body no matter the size or shape—also blame Instagram for the increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery among young people.
Dr. Ysabel Gerrard, a University of Sheffield professor, expects a backlash from companies offering weight-loss products and cosmetic surgery following the implementation of the new rules. However, she believes these companies must really advertise responsibly and prioritize people’s safety, especially since social media content can influence how people perceive their bodies.
Actress Jameela Jamil celebrated the move of Instagram and praised the platform for trying to protect the physical and mental well-being of its users. Jamil has previously criticized other celebrities who promoted unhealthy weight-loss products. She also started the “I Weigh” campaign that encourages people to be happy and positive about their bodies.