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New Instagram policies bring an end to the era of diet tea influencers

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Instagram has updated its policies on dieting, detox and cosmetic surgery ads, blocking posts from users aged under 18.

Influencer content promoting weight-loss products such as now-infamous ‘skinny teas’, or certain types of cosmetic surgeries, will be blocked for underage Instagrammers, and some will be removed from the site altogether.

According to a statement from Instagram, the age restriction will come into effect if there is a price point on the post, or an incentive to buy, such as a discount code.

A post will be removed from the site entirely if it “makes a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products, and is linked to a commercial offer”, the statement said. Such posts are now considered to violate community guidelines.

It means an end to influencers posing with teas or detox products purporting to cause weight loss, but which typically have little grounding in nutritional science.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

????????‍♀️No thanks to your skinny tea????????‍♀️ “Hi Dr Anita. Congratulations for your upcoming wedding. We’d love to send you some of our skinny tea to get your body wedding ready as well as balance your hormones, detox your body and do a whole load of other unproven nonsense…” Ok so this is slight ‘paraphrasing’ but I kid you not, this is the gist of an actual email that I received this week. I thought long and hard about posting about this but I have a few things to say… 1️⃣First things first, why so much pressure on brides to lose weight? I went to a famous bridal store that shall remain unnamed and when I asked about the fitting schedule I was told the it would be as close to the wedding date because then I’ll have “lost the weight”. I mean…SRSLY?! To any future brides, please try and shut your ears to this absolute nonsense. 2️⃣Skinny teas are not even proven to aid weight loss or detox anything… no matter what the Kardashian’s may say in their posts advertising these ridiculous products. Your liver and kidneys are there for detox. All these teas do is speed up the transit through your gut so it’s basically like giving yourself diarrhoea. And any resulting weight loss is likely to be the result of fluid loss. 3️⃣Medications may not be absorbed properly as a result of this faster transit time. This includes things like the contraceptive pill and there are reports of unplanned pregnancies as a result of skinny teas. Now that really might cause problems with your wedding dress… 4️⃣These teas are also unlikely to ‘balance your hormones’ and in fact malabsorption and rapid weight loss are more likely to mess them up, because your body recognised a ‘starvation mode’ which in turn activates ‘survival mode’ and female hormone production isn’t as necessary for survival as a lot of other hormones. ☕️So in summary, if you see me sipping on a tea over the next few months, it’s definitely not going to be a skinny one. #saynotoskinnytea #skinnytea #detoxtea #bridaldiet #hormones #weightloss #utternonsense #nutribollocks ????: @g.l.i.t.t.e.r.i.a

A post shared by Dr Anita Mitra (@gynaegeek) on

The policy will “evolve as needed,” it added, “but we believe this is a positive step in protecting people on Instagram”.

The move follows a change to hide the number of ‘likes’ a post receives. At the time, Instagram said the policy was intended to remove social pressure, particularly among young people.

Some, however, weren’t convinced of Instagram’s motives, suggesting it was actually an attempt to exert control over influencers on the platform. It was also suggested the change could have a negative effect on small businesses using the platform.

Instagram has also been criticised in the past for its policy banning images of nudity, including “some photos of female nipples”.

In a statement, Instagram’s public policy manager Emma Collins said: “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.”

The platform sought guidance from experts, “to make sure any steps to restrict and remove this content will have a positive impact on our community of over 1 billion people around the world — whilst ensuring Instagram remains a platform for expression and discussion”.

It also worked alongside actor Jameela Jamil, who has formed the movement ‘I Weigh’ to help promote body confidence and truth-telling online.

“This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry,” Jamil said in a statement.

“Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online, sends an important message out to the world.”

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is the editor at StartupSmart. You can contact her at [email protected]martcompany.com.au.

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