Instagram is taking some drastic steps to ensure that social media doesn’t send the wrong message to its younger users, and body positivity campaigners are celebrating the victory. This has been a long time coming, and now that it’s finally happened, we couldn’t be happier. But how do these new regulations work and can it be implemented successfully?
Give me some info!
Instagram’s new rules for posts include hiding posts that promote “miraculous” weight-loss products and cosmetic surgery from users under the age of 18, according to BBC News. This comes after growing concerns from social media experts and body positivity activists over the negative impact social media is having on its young users.
Actress Jameela Jamil is one of the biggest activists when it comes to body positivity and the message social media is sending to young people. She founded the I Weigh movement as a means to protest against content on social media that promotes unhealthy lifestyles and weight loss. She’s known for calling out celebrities who endorse detox teas, lollipops, and supplements. The celebrities that received some criticism from her include the Kardashians and Cardi B. Jamil called Instagram’s new rules a “huge win” in the fight against the detox and diet industry – and it is. This should’ve happened ages ago, but hopefully, these new regulations will ensure that younger people are no longer exposed to diet culture through social media.
What brought about this sudden change?
So, why did Instagram have this sudden change of heart? People have been calling for change for quite some time after all, but it seems that the social media giant only recently started to feel the pressure from experts. Back in February, Stephen Powis, the medical director of National Health Service, England, let his voice be heard on the issue of celebrities who are endorsing weight loss aids. He called for a ban on these social media ads, saying that these kinds of products have a damaging effect on young people’s physical and mental health.
Instagram couldn’t really ignore the calls for change for much longer without looking bad, so it agreed to implement these new changes. Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, said that they are aiming to transform the app into a platform that provides everyone with a positive experience. “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.” She added that they have called in the help of experts in the field of social media policy to implement the new changes.
Activists are thrilled by the news
Jamil announced the good news on her Instagram account, expressing her happiness and gratitude towards those who worked so hard to make these new changes possible.
“Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online sends an important message out to the world. 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.”
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THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️
How will these new regulations work?
Now, to provide some answers to your questions about how these new regulations will work: Instagram will be taking down all “get thin quick” promotions from under 18 accounts. These users will also be restricted from viewing posts that encourage them to buy products that are related to cosmetic surgery and dieting. Users will also be able to report any posts that they think violate this new policy. Another bit of good news is that, since Facebook owns Instagram, these same policies will apply to it.
There’s only one problem…
These policies aren’t completely full proof just yet. The restrictions will only apply to users that Instagram knows are under 18, and it’s very easy to bypass your age on the app – you simply have to tick a box where you claim to be under or over 18. The app doesn’t ask users for their date of birth when they sign up and if they already own a Facebook account, their age information is simply pulled from that profile, which usually isn’t verified.
Yes, these new policies are great, but there are some serious flaws that Instagram and Facebook will need to look at, like the age loophole. As long as it’s still super easy to lie about your age on these apps, these new policies will not be 100 percent effective. Hopefully, that will change soon.
Any change is good at this stage
It’s great to see that Instagram and Facebook are at least trying to change something. Getting the company to this point took some hard work and a lot of campaigning from very determined people like Jamil. We’re making progress, and hopefully, this will lead to more positive change on social media platforms in the near future.
Over to you: What do you think about Instagram’s new policy? Do you think it’ll work? Drop your thoughts in the comments.