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Instagram Is Restricting Posts That Promote Weight Loss Products

Posts about 'laxative' diet teas and lollipops will no longer be shown to everyone.
PHOTO: Instagram/kimkardashian

Instagram has launched a new policy which will restrict posts that encourage users to buy "laxative" diet teas, shakes, and lollipops.

This frankly EXCELLENT news comes in response to promotional posts from celebrities such as Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Cardi B, and Iggy Azaelea, who have all come under fire for promoting diet teas and lollipops, many from the brand Flat Tummy Co.

These products have been dubbed "laxatives" because many of them contain senna, an herb that has a strong laxative effect. The influential stars who are paid to post about them have been accused of negatively affecting the body image and mental health of their often young followers.

Instagram has been working behind-the-scenes with experts and positive body image role models including Jameela Jamil, who has been a loud critic of those who promote such products, to roll out the new policy.

After one such post by Cardi B in November 2018, Jamil tweeted that she hoped "all these celebrities all shit their pants in public, the way the poor women who buy this nonsense upon their recommendation do." 

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"When will these women who are covered in plastic surgery stop telling their followers to drink a laxative to look like them?" she continued. "It's so embarrassing and it's so encouraging of eating disordered [sic] behavior. BE BETTER ALLIES!"

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The new policy is focused on restricting the promotion of weight loss products and certain cosmetic procedures to under-18s across Instagram and Facebook. So how will the new rules actually work? Starting this week, Instagram will roll out an additional function to allow users to report a post within the app if they believe it violates the policy. The post will then be reviewed and actioned by their content reviewers.

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Then, if a post is found to promote the use of certain weight loss products or cosmetic procedures, and has an incentive to buy or includes a price, Instagram will restrict people they know to be under 18 from seeing that post. When the content makes a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products and is "linked to a commercial offer" such as a discount code, it will no longer be allowed and will be removed from Instagram.

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A spokesperson from Instagram said: "We have given a lot of thought to the impact that the promotion of products on Instagram such as diet teas, supplements, and certain cosmetic surgeries can have [on our users]." 

"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 added: "We will continue to listen to our community and evolve the policy as needed but we believe this a positive step in protecting people on Instagram." 

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Jameela Jamil, who founded the inspirational I Weigh movement and has worked with Instagram on the initiative, added: "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." 

"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. It's a proud day for our generation, who deserve respect and protection from the celebrities and influencers that they follow." 

Whether it'll actually work is yet to be seen, but anything that stops vulnerable young women buying into the idea that they need to buy a so-called laxative tea or appetite-suppressing lollipop to look good is an ace move in our book.

The move follows Instagram testing the removal of likes—a trial which is currently ongoing.

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This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.