Pinterest pins down weight-loss ads

By Rosie Vacciana-Browne

If you’ve logged in to a social media account anytime in the last 10-years, then it’s almost a given that at some point, you’ve had your timeline flooded by weight-loss ads. From Kardashian backed appetite-suppressing lollipops to reality star’s workout videos, suffocating waist trainers, crash diets, pills and just about every liquid (how could we forget weight-loss teas aka laxatives). Yes, the patriarchy is alive and well on the world wide web.

But in a landmark move for body positivity, social media site Pinterest has become the first major platform to ban weight loss adverts. Like Instagram, Pinterest is picture-based, making it easier for users to absorb negative body expectations and imagery. This change follows years of activism from many who have called for social media platforms to stop the pushing of weight loss posts and ads by celebrities and companies for their damaging effects on women and young people (their primary target).    

“Yes, the patriarchy is alive and well on the world wide web.”

In a blog post, Pinterest wrote that the move came as an expansion of its ad policies;  “that have long prohibited body shaming and dangerous weight loss products or claims.” The updated policy includes the prohibition of any weight loss language or imagery, language or imagery that idealises or puts down certain body types, reference to Body Mass Index (BMI) and any products that claim weight loss through something worn or applied to the skin. These changes come in addition to Pinterest’s previous policy that barred weight loss or appetite suppressant pills/supplements, before-and-after weight-loss imagery, weight loss procedures, body shaming and claims regarding unrealistic cosmetic results. 

Hopefully, yesterday will mark the first of many moves by big tech companies and social media platforms to push body positivity and create a more positive online space for young people.

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