Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Instagram to restrict who can see posts related to weight loss products and cosmetic surgery

Body positivity activist Jameela Jamil has applauded the changes

This post from Kim Kardashian, promoting a diet-supressing lolly pop, came under fire in May 2018. Instagram / Kim Kardashian 
This post from Kim Kardashian, promoting a diet-supressing lolly pop, came under fire in May 2018. Instagram / Kim Kardashian 

The role that social media, particularly Instagram, has to play in the promotion of weight loss products and cosmetic surgery has been long debated. A number of celebrities, particularly members of the Kardashian family, have come under fire for promoting skinny teas and diet restricting sweets.

Under new rules, rolled out by the social platform, anyone under 18 years old will be restricted from seeing questionable imagery "if a post promotes the use of certain weight loss products or cosmetic procedures, and has an incentive to buy or includes a price".

They will also go so far as removing content completely, when it "makes a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products, and is linked to a commercial offer such as a discount code".

Of the new measures, Emma Collins, the public policy manager at Instagram, said: "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.

"We’ve sought guidance form external experts, including Dr Ysabel Gerrard in the UK, to make sure any steps to restrict and remove this content will have a positive impact on our community of over one billion people around the world – whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion."

The Good Place star and I Weigh activist, Jameela Jamil, has been one of the most out-spoken critics of posts that promote weight loss goods.

Jamil has spoken out about the new rules, saying, "This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry ... 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.

"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."

Jameela Jamil versus The Kardashians

In the past, Jamil has slammed the famous reality TV stars, calling them "double agents for the patriarchy". And back in March, their feud hit headlines when the actress commented on one of Khloe Kardashian's posts promoting Flat Tummy Co, a company that makes detox teas and meal replacement protein shakes.

Jamil said the star was "irresponsible" for promoting the products. Adding, "It's incredibly awful that this industry bullied you until you became this fixated on your appearance. That's the media's fault.

"But now please don't put that back into the world, and hurt other girls, the way you have been hurt. You 're a smart woman. Be smarter than this."

Kardashian's original post was deleted, but picked up by Instagram account Comments By Celebs. Other Flat Tummy Co promotions remain live on her Instagram page, some promoting sales and discounts.

The television personality commented on the actress' comments in an interview with The New York Times, a week later. Saying, "I don’t live in that negative energy space. Ninety per cent of people will be really excited about the family and the journey and who we are."

Updated: September 19, 2019 11:51 AM

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