Instagram Aims to Reduce Influencer Impact on Young Users

Facebook’s photo- and video-sharing app Instagram announced its plans to restrict certain content, including posts that promote cosmetic surgery procedures and weight-loss products, from users who are younger than 18 years of age. While some posts will be hidden from young users, other posts will be removed altogether from both Instagram and Facebook, including those from A-list celebrities such as the Kardashians. The move is part of an effort by the social networks to address growing concerns regarding the significant impact of influencer marketing on children.

“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,” explained Emma Collins, public policy manager for Instagram.

According to CBS News, “Instagram said the new policies are a direct reaction to the increase of influencer marketing and the promotion of diet teas, supplements and certain cosmetic surgeries on the app. Influencers have advertised weight loss products with increasing frequency over the years to an impressionable young audience.”

The company “will apply the age restriction in cases where posts include an incentive to buy or are accompanied by a price for a product,” reports The Verge. And a post will be removed “entirely if it ‘makes a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products, and is linked to a commercial offer such as a discount code.’”

In the coming weeks, Instagram plans to introduce additional ways for users to report violations to the new policy. Content reviewers will then determine whether or not the post in question requires action. The company explained that its policy will “evolve as needed but we believe this a positive step in protecting people on Instagram.”

Actress and body-positive activist Jameela Jamil, “who has called out celebrities for promoting dangerous diet products in the past,” notes The Hill, “touted the policy change.”

“This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry,” she said. “Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online sends an important message out to the world.”