Instagram announced in September that it and Facebook were restricting posts about cosmetic procedures and weight loss products to users under 18 years of age and will start tightening restrictions on “branded miracle claims.”
In some cases, the social media platforms will remove posts entirely and they’re making it easier for users to reports posts that might violate policy.
There hasn’t been an official announcement posted on Instagram or Facebook, but media outlets worldwide have reported widely on the new social media rule.
“It’s not in the interest of the broader community to be exposed to these kind of branded miracle claims. We’ve also gone a step further where young people are concerned and the action that we’re taking for the under 18s is that any branded promotion of weight loss products or undertaking of cosmetic procedures will be restricted so under 18s won’t see them,” Instagram’s Public Policy Manager Emma Collins told the London Evening Standard (the Standard).
Collins has said the policy is part of Instagram’s ongoing work to be a positive place for users and reduce the pressure people might feel as a result of social media, according to an article in BuzzFeed News.
There’s good reason to be concerned about social media’s impact on mental health, self-esteem and body image. Instagram and Snapchat emerged as the social media platforms that were found to be most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeing, according to a report by The Royal Society for Public Health and Young Health Movement released in 2017.
The pediatrician community is sounding its alarm: “While social media platforms continue to experience surges in popularity, mounting evidence suggests significant correlations between their usage and adolescent mental health and behavioral issues. Increased social media usage has been linked to diminished self-esteem and body satisfaction, elevated risk of cyber-bullying, heightened exposure to pornographic material, and risky sexual behaviors,” according to an article published earlier this year in Current Opinion in Pediatrics.