Instagram is cracking down on hawking diet products, and it’s about time
We’ve almost become desensitized to Instagram #ads posted by influencers like the Kardashian-Jenners and other reality TV stars in which they promote shady diet products to their audiences. The practice of promoting non-FDA-approved diet pills, teas, and shakes has come into question by body positive advocates like The Good Place’s Jameela Jamil, who has been extremely vocal in the past about the dangers of the Kardashians’ sponsored slimming tea posts. And finally, she’s getting some backup from Instagram.
On September 18th, Instagram announced it will debut a new policy under which Instagram users under the age of 18 will no longer be able to view ads for weight-loss products or cosmetic procedures if they have price tags attached to them.
Furthermore, Instagram will also ban any content that markets a “miraculous claim” about a diet or weight-loss product, as Elle UK reports. This means influencers will no longer be able to write, for example, that a single tea helped them drop 15 pounds in five days (because…that’s just wrong).
Of course, we’re sure there are ways influencers can cheat this new system. But its presence alone indicates that Instagram is concerned about its users and actively trying to make the platform a more positive space to reside.
Jamil, who founded the “i Weigh” movement, in which women vocalize their worth in personal traits rather than appearances, told Elle UK that she’s thrilled about Instagram’s new policy.
"It sets the tone that this is not okay in our society," the actress told the publication. "We have hyper-normalized flogging nonsense to young impressionable people. These people are selling hair growth gummies, but wearing extensions or Photoshopping themselves to look slimmer and selling a weight-loss shake. There are so many lies being told, and we’ve accepted that as a cultural norm."
After spearheading a 240,000-signature strong petition entitled, “Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media,” Jamil met with Instagram to figure out how to thwart the spread of dangerous misinformation.
“I’ve been working with Instagram all year toward this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online,” Jamil wrote in a September 18th Instagram post. “I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working toward this huge change…Influencers have to be more responsible.”
These two new policy changes will hopefully help young people steer clear of unnecessary and troublesome advertising, thus helping to promote a healthier sense of self.