Instagram announced today that it would restrict posts promoting cosmetic surgery and diet products for people under the age of 18. As influencer marketing grows, the company wants to put up a barrier between impressionable users and weight loss products that might be pushed by the people they follow.
It will age-gate content that sells these products, making them invisible to anyone under 18. It will also outright ban posts that make “miraculous claims” about diet products with links or codes to buy.
But as with any new content policy, the devil is in the details. The app is drawing the line for the policy around posts that are clearly meant to generate sales of the product. How egregiously promotional a post has to be to fall under the policy is not yet clear, meaning the products and services could still have a strong presence on the platforms, if they’re careful about wording.
“We will remove or restrict content if it breaks our Community Guidelines, once reported to us by the community,” a Facebook spokesperson clarified.
Beyond contributing to unhealthy body image expectations, some of the diet products can be supremely unhealthy, encouraging eating disorders or severely dehydrating users.
Additionally, social media has been linked to an increase in plastic surgery requests among young people. People want to look more like their filtered selves, and they turn to social media to find the people and procedures to make that happen; experts have said that social media is a huge advertising and marketing opportunity for plastic surgeons.