In recent years, there has been growing concern over the effects of social media on mental health, and especially on body image and self-esteem.
One study found that 87% of women and 65% of men compare their bodies to images on social media platforms, with the majority comparing themselves unfavorably.
There have been calls for tech companies to address this. Now, Pinterest has announced it will no longer be showing ads on its platform that relate to weight loss.
The social media website said this move would build on its existing ad policies “that have long prohibited body shaming and dangerous weight loss products or claims.”
Additionally, it said that it would take further steps to protect users. One of the ways it plans to do this is to stop showing ads that include language or images that promote certain body types.
“There’s been a steep rise in unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders in young people since the Covid-19 pandemic started last year,” Pinterest said in a statement.
It added that, under the guidance of the National Eating Disorders Association, it would develop policies that prioritize the’ “emotional and mental health and wellbeing — particularly that of users directly impacted by eating disorders or diet culture or body shaming.”
Approximately 60% of Pinterest’s users are women, and reports show that the current situation on social media has resulted in an increase in body image issues globally.
The new policy says that any ads promoting fitness products or “healthy lifestyles” will still be allowed. However, they will be removed if their main focus is on weight loss.
Pinterest, like other online platforms, has struggled to deal with content that promotes dangerous products. It previously banned content related to “thinspiration,” “thinspo,” or “pro-anorexia,” and Facebook banned ads for weight-loss products in 2019.
But, it was noted that Pinterest is the first platform banning all ads about weight loss, and the company is encouraging others to follow its example.