The history of body shaming has been long on the internet. With a slim body type appearing as the best appearance for anyone, body positivity has lost its essence. On Thursday, Pinterest, the global digital pinboard site, said that banning all ads with weight loss language and images. It would not allow any testimonials about weight loss, weight loss products, or any ad that references body mass index.
This stand by Pinterest has made it the only central platform to prohibit all weight-loss ads. In a blog post, the company also said that it was an expansion to their ad policies that have been long banned by body shaming and weight loss products for claims.
“Ads promoting healthy lifestyle habits or fitness services and products are still allowed on the platform if they do not focus on “weight loss.” said the company. They also informed that they had developed a policy with guidance from the National Eating Disorders Association with the organization’s CEO, Elizabeth Thompson, to prioritize the mental health of Pinterest. Thompson also said that she hopes that this policy will Spark other social media platforms to take similar steps.
The National Eating Disorders Association NEDA has a helpline that is open for online chats from Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This helpline works for people who have eating disorders and counsels them regarding the same.
When we interviewed Sarah Bromma, Pinterest head of policy, she said that the rule has changed and prioritized Pinterest user’s emotional and mental health and wellbeing, especially those directly impacted by eating disorders or diet culture of body shaming.
The decision has come from a broader body positivity movement that aims to accept people of all sizes. Pinterest has also noted that its ban on weight loss ads or images motivates people who have started unhealthy eating habits in the Covid-19. They have witnessed that more young people are affected by eating disorders because of mental instability during the ongoing pandemic.
Many are now feeling added pressure as they look to join their social circle in person for the first time in 15 months, Pinterest said in its statement.
Even on Friday, a search for “weight loss” was made on Pinterest, and an ad popped up on the screen for a “metabolic boost” supplement and an advertisement for the weight loss program Noom.
“Pinterest is a place people come for inspiration to create the life they love. It’s where everyone belongs regardless of body shape or size. We are empowering pinners to plan for summer and beyond without weight loss ads, so they can focus on what matters the most.” Pinterest said in a blog post.
The weight-loss ads on Facebook have increased by 120% since last year. The weight loss brands spend $372 million between six months across all digital platforms and print media. These stats have been up by 89% compared to last year.
Pinterest also reports that more than 60% of its users worldwide are female. Since the company has been the part of combating pro-eating disorders content forever, it has now blocked searches that navigate to weight-loss ads. Pinterest also had rules against ads promoting weight loss pills and those containing before and after weight loss imagery.