Instagram Adds New Restrictions on Weight-Loss Products, Cosmetic Procedures

Posts may be limited to users 18 and older or removed altogether

Instagram has never allowed promotion of these products MCCAIG/iStock

Instagram implemented a new policy that will prohibit people under 18 from seeing posts that promote weight loss products or certain cosmetic procedures.

The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network said it would take the following actions if posts in this subject area are reported.

If the post promotes certain weight-loss products or cosmetic producers, and it contains an inventive to buy or includes pricing information, it will be restricted so that it can only be viewed by people 18 and older.

However, if a post “makes a miraculous claim” about dieting or weight loss and is linked to a commercial offer, such as a discount code, it will be removed altogether.

Instagram said it will roll out functionality in the coming weeks that enables people to report posts of this type directly within the application, after which those posts will be reviewed.

The company stressed that it has never allowed promotion of these products, and it is now taking these extra steps to cover influencer marketing and organic content.

Public policy manager Emma Collins said in an email, “We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone who 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. We’ve sought guidance from external 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, while ensuring that Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion.”

Instagram also shared a comment from actor and body positivity campaigner Jameela Jamil, who has been critical of influencers and celebrities, including Khloé Kardashian, for posting about these types of products on social platforms.

Jamil said, “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. I’m thrilled to have been able to work toward this with them, alongside a host of other experts who shed light on the danger of these products.”

She continued, “Instagram was supportive and helpful when I brought them my protests and petitions: They listened, they cared, they moved so efficiently and communicated with us throughout the process. 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. A focus of our advocacy since inception, it is a proud day for ‘I Weigh’ and a day of hope for our generation, who deserve respect and protection from the celebrities and influencers that they follow.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.