Several groups have voiced concerns about the effects of such advertising, especially on younger, more gullible users. On its part, Instagram states that it wants its platform to be a place of positivity for everyone using it. It further states that this policy is an element of their continuous work to reduce the pressure that individuals can sometimes feel due to social media.
Instagram has also been testing the elimination of total “Like” counts on posts in specific regions as well as removing graphic pictures of self-harm, a decision that it announced in February.
What’s wrong though with someone wanting to look good?
Influence of Instagram on Health and Cosmetic Issues
As Instagram is a platform that is based on visual representation, such measures are especially important. According to some reports, Instagram is indeed the worst social forum for such effects.
A study by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK conducted in 2017 showed that the use of Instagram had the most significant effect in terms of increased levels of depression, anxiety, and bullying.
Besides the new restriction on diet and cosmetic surgery advertisements, Instagram has also stated that any content making a “miraculous” claim regarding a weight-loss product or diet will not be eliminated from the platform.
Such changes could be detrimental to the growing culture of influencers and lifestyle gurus who promote various diet products. However, the positives outweigh the potential negatives by a large margin.
How do the New Changes Work?
Promotions that are unrealistic will be removed, and young people will be restricted from seeing certain posts pertaining to cosmetic surgery and dieting if they have an incentive to purchase.
In addition, users will be able to report the posts that they believe are in violation of the policy. Instagram will review such cases and decide whether they should be restricted or removed.
These changes are also applicable to Facebook, which owns Instagram. However, these restrictions are only meant for users that Instagram known to be under 18 years of age. The platform does not ask users to reveal their age upon signing up.
Rather, users that are signing up only need to tick a box declaring whether they are over 18 or not. In case they sign up using a Facebook account, their age is taken from their Facebook profile, which is also typically unverified.
Why is Instagram introducing these Changes?
In recent times, there has been growing concern over the impact the cosmetic and diet industry is having on individuals through the promotion of unreasonable goals. So Instagram is OK with people being over weight?
A BBC investigation uncovered that kids swapping graphic weight loss images and suggestions on how to make their condition extreme were common on Instagram.
According to Emma Collins, Public Policy Manager at Instagram, the platform wants to be a positive place for every person using it. She also informs that the social media policy has been changed in discussion with top experts in the field. Do these top experts know what being obese does to someone’s life and health? Perhaps they should be asked that.