Pinterest Bans Ads for Weight Loss Due to Eating Disorders

Pinterest Bans Ads for Weight Loss

Pinterest said Thursday it is updating its advertising policy to “ban all ads using language and weight loss images.” The company announced on its blog that it has developed its new policy under the leadership of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), whose research shows that during the pandemic, young people are seeing an increase in eating disorders and unhealthy eating habits.

“Pinterest is the place where people come for inspiration to create a life they love,” reads a blog post. “This is a place for everyone – regardless of body shape or size. We’re giving the Pinners the ability to plan the summer ahead without any weight loss ads so they can focus on what matters most. ”

The company claims that it is “the only major platform to ban all weight loss ads,” and that the new rules build on the company’s existing advertising policy against body shame and weight loss fraud. In 2019, Instagram banned users under the age of 18 from showing content for weight loss and certain types of cosmetic surgery.

Effective Thursday, it is Pinterest’s policy to prohibit:

  • Any language or images for weight loss
  • Any reviews about weight loss or weight loss products.
  • Any language or imagery that idealizes or denigrates certain body types.
  • Link to body mass index or similar
  • Any product that claims to have lost weight due to something being worn or applied to the skin.

The company added that advertisements for diet pills or appetite suppressants, pre- and post-weight loss images, weight loss treatments such as liposuction or fat burning, body shame and “unrealistic” claims of cosmetic results have already been banned under the policy.

Elizabeth Thompson, NEDA’s interim CEO, welcomed the move. “NEDA is encouraged by this necessary step in prioritizing the mental health and wellbeing of pinners, especially those affected by food culture, bodily shame and eating disorders,” she said in a statement. “We hope that this global policy will encourage other organizations and companies to reflect on potentially dangerous advertising messages and develop their own operating policies that will lead to meaningful change.”

Pinterest is one of the most forward-thinking social media platforms when it comes to curbing malicious or misleading content in their ads. In 2016, it banned advertising for “sensitive content, including cultural items and inappropriate costumes.” It stopped running political ads in 2018, and in 2019, Pinterest was one of the first social media platforms to block anti-vaccination content to prevent misinformation from spreading on its platform.

Earlier this year, the company said it would stop using nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) when employees leave the company, following a dispute with its former COO who claimed gender discrimination.