TikTok restricts ads promoting negative body image

Anne Freer | September 25, 2020

App Business

TikTok has rolled out a new marketing policy that challenges dangerous weight loss adverts on the platform.

As a consequence, marketers won’t be able to post certain types of ads that focus on body image.

The app banned ads for fasting apps and weight loss supplements. It’s also restricted ads that promote harmful and negative body image.

There are also restrictions in place for weight loss ads and claims made in relation to losing weight.

In addition, users have been given more power to challenge such ads by reporting, blocking and filtering them.

“As a society, weight stigma and body shaming pose both individual and cultural challenges, and we know that the internet, if left unchecked, has the risk of exacerbating such issues,” TikTok said in a blog post. “That’s why we’re focused on working to safeguard our community from harmful content and behavior while supporting an inclusive – and body-positive – environment.”

UK eating disorder charity Beat welcomed the news.

“Weight loss products can be very attractive to people affected by eating disorders. We know that the spread of these damaging weight loss claims, particularly the spike in fasting adverts shown on social media platforms, has caused great distress and risked triggering eating disorder behaviours in many of those suffering,” said Tom Quinn, Beat’s Director of External Affairs.

“Using social media can be a helpful way of finding supportive recovery communities, but also has the potential to be a trigger. We would encourage anyone struggling to report harmful content wherever possible, but also consider taking a step away and instead focusing on other positive sources of support like Beat.”

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