Last week, Instagram announced some new policies they will be rolling out, and I for one could not be happier about it. The app will now be removing posts that make a “branded miracle claim” about a diet product and are connected to an offer, incentive, or discount code. They will also be making these posts easier for users to report. In addition to these changes for all users, Instagram will be restricting the ability of members under 18 to view certain content. These posts include those that promote the use of certain weight loss products or cosmetic procedures and are tied to an incentive to buy or include a price (*cough cough, flat tummy tea). Though this change is being spearheaded by Instagram, we should also see the content shift on Facebook (as both are owned by Facebook, Inc).
Why I Love This for Us
These changes come at a time when more and more studies are popping up showing a link between social media and the deteriorating mental health of those who frequent it. According to a recent survey of close to 1500 teens and young adults, the app produces
high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO (“fear of missing out”) in this demographic (YouTube received the highest marks for health and well being in this survey). Earlier this year, Instagram even began testing out versions of the app without the “like” counts in an effort to ease the pressure the younger demographic feels when scrolling.
Honestly, I love this for us. And by us I don’t only mean myself and all Registered Dietitians fighting the good fight against quick fixes. But all other women, men, health professionals and most importantly younger generations that are currently growing up having this toxic crap shoved into their faces and not knowing anything different. I love this for my nieces, who are four and seven, because I know they will eventually be on some form of social media (sorry, sis) and I pray that they will never have to read or even THINK about detox teas or seven day cleanses and will never feel the pressure to “Facetune” themselves.
Will This Fix Everything?
Now, don’t get me wrong- I have a healthy dose of skepticism here. I can already see ways that these products might get around these new rules and still be able to promote their quick fixes. However, I am incredibly encouraged by this move and have already seen some snippets on social showing the view from an under 18 profile (picture: grey boxes over 99% of the offending account’s posts). I’m choosing to feel encouraged that this is only the first step in protecting the public’s health and well being and turning social media into something a bit more positive. Do you have thoughts on this move? Share them in the comments below!