The social network recommended that some users look for content promoting slimming products. Posting of these very dangerous products is supposed to be restricted on Instagram. The platform has reversed.
Instagram admitted to having ” made a mistake “. Several English users have realized that the application automatically suggests dangerous content to certain people, especially on potentially dangerous diets. Instagram recommended that others research “ slimming products ” or fasting. Instagram has since removed the criticized terms.
On the platform, there are many influencers who promote slimming products, appetite suppressants and even the practice of fasting. Between the sponsored publications to extol the merits of such products and the sometimes risky advice provided by influencers , the platform decided to act in 2019 . However, the problems persist.
PROBLEMS DUE TO A NEW FEATURE
The firm has since admitted the facts and apologized through its spokesperson, reports the BBC on April 15, 2021.
“ We made a mistake, ” Instagram admitted. “ We recently incorporated a new feature, which helps our users find more of the content they like, in addition to hashtags and accounts. With this feature, when a user used the search bar, Instagram would suggest topics that they might be interested in. These suggestions, like the results they display, are limited to general interest terms, and weight loss shouldn’t have been one of them. “
However, the apologies and changes come too late to the liking of some activists. Lauren Black, an Instagrammer and former anorexic interviewed by the BBC , still explains that she is targeted by dangerous offers. “ When I use Instagram, I am offered diets, methods to count calories, ” she regrets. “ People go to Instagram to find support, but by researching this topic, Instagram offers these products instead. It can be very dangerous. “
THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN KNOWN FOR A LONG TIME.
The negative impact of these publications on the mental health of young users has been known for years. However, Instagram is struggling to act. In 2019, the platform announced that it would put in place certain restrictions on publications sponsored by brands of slimming products or promoting cosmetic surgery.
“ The photos which will contain a caption with a fixed price, encouraging to buy, will be hidden from the under 18s. And any content claiming a “ miracle ” solution for a particular diet or product, linked to a discount promo code, will be deleted, ” Konbini explained .
” We want to be a positive place for all of our users, and this rule is part of a work we are doing to reduce the pressure on social media, which people can feel, ” the platform told the ‘time. Much remains to be done to achieve this goal.