Pinterest bans weight loss ads to tackle body image issues

pinterest weight loss ads banned

The platform wants to promote body neutrality (Picture: Getty/PinInterest)

Next time you’re nosing around Pinterest, there’s one thing you won’t see: adverts promoting weight loss.

The platform has vowed to ban all ads with language and imagery around weight loss, as part of a mission to tackle poor body image.

This comes after their research found that 41% of Brits say they feel pressure to get ‘summer body ready’ – a figure that jumps to 78% among Gen Z.

Their data also shows a movement towards body neutrality, – accepting your body for what it does rather than worrying about what it looks like – with searches for ‘body neutrality’ up by 500% while searches for ‘body acceptance quotes’ are up by seven times the previous norm.

Pinterest’s updated ad policy means that from now on, the following things will be barred from the platform:

  • Weight loss language or imagery
  • Any testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products
  • Any language or imagery that idealises or denigrates certain body types
  • Referencing BMI or similar indexes
  • Any products that claim weight loss through something worn or applied to the skin.

Ads promoting healthy lifestyles and habits or fitness services and products will still be allowed, as long as they don’t focus on weight loss. This policy change was developed with the guidance and advice of the US National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

Of course, this doesn’t mean the platform will become a total haven free of all body-shaming messaging straight away.

The policy change comes after a Pinterest study revealed the extent of Gen Z’s body image issues (Picture: Pinterest)

This policy targets adverts, so they will be more closely monitored, but everyday users will still be able to share and pin images that don’t fit a body-positive ethos.

This is, however, another step in Pinterest’s move to make their community healthier.

The platform already blocked searches for keywords related to eating disorders, and will continue to do this.

Plus, the ad policy expands on previous bans on weight loss and bodyshaming ad content, which saw a barring of weight loss or appetite suppressant pills and products, before-and-after weight-loss imagery, weight loss procedures, body shaming, and unrealistic claims of cosmetic changes.

The team at Pinterest is now encouraging other companies to take on a similar pledge.

Elizabeth Thompson, Interim CEO for the US National Eating Disorders Association, said: ”The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) applauds Pinterest for taking a leadership position as the first platform to prohibit all ads with weight-loss language and imagery.

‘NEDA is encouraged by this necessary step in prioritizing the mental health and wellbeing of Pinners, especially those impacted by diet culture, body shaming, and eating disorders.

‘We are hopeful this global policy will encourage other organizations and companies to reflect on potentially harmful ad messages and to establish their own working policies that will create meaningful change.’

Sarah Bromma, head of policy at Pinterest, added: ‘As Pinterest and our Pinner base continues to grow, we remain focused on maintaining a safe, positive, inspiring and relevant Pinner experience.

‘People of all ages are facing challenges related to body image and mental health, particularly as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and kick-off the summer season.

‘We believe updating our ad policy globally to prohibit all ads with weight loss language and imagery is an important step in prioritizing the mental health and well-being of our Pinners and fostering a place on the internet where they can be themselves, embrace their bodies regardless of shape or size, and feel comfortable with who they are.’

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