Last week Instagram and Facebook finally took a stand against the unfounded plethora of miracle weight loss products advertised on the platform. Spearheaded by The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil, the new regulations will help foster a higher level of body positivity and avoid the mental and physical health risks associated with weight loss products.
Behind the Restrictions
Jameela Jamil, founder of iWeigh, began the petition early this year for Instagram and Facebook to ban weight loss posts. She worked alongside the platform to establish their new guidelines, stating:
“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.”
But the new restrictions aren’t as all-encompassing as Jamil’s original petition advocated for.
Who it Affects
While the censorship of weight loss products is a large step in the virtual world, Instagram’s recent rules only shield certain age groups from viewing the advertisements.
Only users under the age of 18 will be unable to see content promoting weight loss products or cosmetic procedures. Undoubtedly, teens and children are the most impressionable. However, unrealistic body standards and get-thin-quick schemes plague many individuals outside of this bracket as well.
For this reason, the platforms also claim they will take down any posts making “miraculous claims” regarding weight loss that are linked to a commercial product.
As far as who this will affect on the other side of things, many big time celebrities will feel the impacts. From the Kardashian’s diet-suppressing lollipops and fit-teas to weight loss shakes promoted by your #fitspo, they’ll all now be censored.
Breaking down the presence of fiscally-backed weight loss ads is impactful. However, these platforms still promote certain harmful practices and body types through other, subversive means.
Still More Work to Do
Following and advertising weight loss products and “gurus” online is a symptom of societal diet culture. The promotion of mainly thin body-positivity and unqualified fitness and diet advice online only perpetuates this further.
Social media restrictions are simply a band aid for this larger issue. Through advocating for body inclusivity and health at every size we can further this battle.
Kudos for Instagram and Facebook for taking a stand, but it’s the users that will ultimately make the largest difference. Follow body-positive accounts like iWeigh, Mary Jelkovsky, and Megan Jayne Crabbe, just to name a few.
Post those not-so-picture-perfect photos of yourself where you’re smiling ear to ear. Love yourself as an example for those around you to love themselves as well. Take a stand and others will stand with you.
Cover image via The Hill
Also published on Medium.