A week ago, Instagram rolled out a policy that would have certain weight loss product promotions age-restricted or even removed from the site, potentially threatening a number of influencers whose content centered around this niche.
While the move may harshly impact certain celebrities’ profiles such as that of some of the Kardashians, Cardi B, and others, it’s worth noting that many young individuals who see these people as role models may be putting themselves at risk for taking the supplements that they promote.
Jameela Jamil, a British actress who has campaigned for body positivity, called Instagram’s decision “an extraordinary win” that calls upon influencers to be more responsible.
As strict as the policy may seem, it’s likely not going to make the platform a hostile place for fitness-oriented influencers. In fact, this might actually help promote healthy content that provides valuable advice.
Measures like these simply cut out sponsors that wish to promote “miracle cures” like detox supplements that have little to no basis in science and have not been through the rigorous process of double-blind studies.
The EUFIC, an European non-profit organization dedicated to informing the public on healthy food and lifestyle choices, wrote a small summary on detox products and their effects (or, more appropriately, lack thereof) on the human body.
“A recent critical review showed that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of detoxing on weight loss or toxin elimination,” the organization wrote.
Fad diets that are centered around detoxing have also sometimes proven to be harmful. An NBC News report from 2007 cites Lona Sandon, a dietitian and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, as saying that “long-term fasts lead to muscle breakdown and a shortage of many needed nutrients.”
The effects that these diets and supplements have on minors whose bodies are still developing may actually be more severe than they are for full-grown adults.
By restricting how much exposure underage individuals have to this kind of marketing, Instagram is making a proactive move to ensure that it does not contribute to the pressure that younger people face on a daily basis to try radical things that may harm their bodies instead of helping them.