Seems like Instagram has had just about enough of the diet tea culture and the heightened interest of teenagers in cosmetic surgeries and announced that age restrictions will be applied to some of the posts that promote these sort of diet products or surgeries while others will be removed altogether.
Instagram stated that any posts that claim a product helped the user miraculously lose weight who link to a commercial offer will be removed. Posts that discuss or promote cosmetic procedures will be restricted for those who are under 18 years old.
“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.” Instagram’s public policy manager, Emma Collins said. “We’ve sought guidance from 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 1 billion people around the world – whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion.”
According to a study conducted on teenagers and young adults aged 14 to 24 in 2017, Instagram influences young minds in a negative way. Another study, this time from 2018, found that 37% of teenagers feel pressured to post content that will gain them high numbers of likes and comments while 43% of them will only post content that “makes them look good to others”.
With that in mind, Instagram started testing hiding the like counter earlier this year and seems well on its way to continue to reinforce new measures that will ease the pressure on young people.
Some think that, while the changing policies won’t make much of a difference they are, however, a bit of a step forward.
“Miraculous claims means they aren’t sustainable. Products like skinny teas, these have been publicly criticised as they offer short term solutions to something that naturally takes a lot longer.” Dr Ysabel Gerrard, lecturer in digital media and society at the University of Sheffield has said about Instagram’s decision.”It’s hard to blame social media solely for influencing eating disorders, but the content we see on social media is a contributing factor to how we feel about our bodies.”
Instagram is also well-aware of other groups that are active across the platform: the transgender community. It’s because of them that the platform took the decision not to restrict the cosmetic surgery content to those who are over 18.
“There’s a really thriving community of trans activists who use Instagram to talk about transition and that inevitably veers on to talking about cosmetic procedures and we didn’t want to inadvertently shut any of that down.” Collins added.