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As Pinners embrace radical self-acceptance during the pandemic, Pinterest adds weight loss-related ads to their list of already banned ads. This is as the National Eating Disorders Association’s data reveals a steep rise in unhealthy eating patterns during the pandemic.
Compared to the previous year, the National Eating Disorders Association reported that its helpline experienced a 40 percent increase in calls related to mental health and eating disorder struggles in 2020.
The new policy, prohibiting all weight loss related ads now also includes:
- Any language or imagery related to weight loss;
- Weight loss testimonials; Weight loss products;
- Idealizing or denigrating certain body types through language or imagery;
- A comparison of body mass index (BMI) or a similar index; and
- Anything that promises weight loss through wearables or topical applications
As long as the ads don’t promote weight loss, Pinterest will allow ads to promote healthy lifestyles and habits, like fitness products and services. It is important that young people make this adaptation during the pandemic, as their routines and activities that might have provided healthy exercise were cut off during the epidemic.
After almost 15 months away or being distanced from their social circles, these same young people now have to return to their social circles, and many experience greater body image insecurity.
Interim CEO for the National Eating Disorders Association said:
“NEDA is encouraged by this necessary step in prioritizing the mental health and well-being of Pinners, especially those impacted by diet culture, body shaming, and eating disorders. We are hopeful this global policy will encourage other organizations and companies to reflect on potentially harmful ad messages and to establish their own working policies that will create meaningful change.”
Pinterest is a platform where people look for inspiration, ideas, and positivity, and this move makes sense. Over 90% of people find Pinterest positive, a characteristic that has long been the hallmark of the site.
According to Pinterest, brands that present themselves in positive online environments enjoy a “halo effect,” which means that people are more receptive, trusting, and positively disposed toward them.
In addition to the trend in searches that supports body-neutrality, Pinterest showcased a trend in searches that supports radical self-acceptance:
- “Healthy mindset quotes” searches are up to x13 from the previous year,
- “Body neutrality” and “stop body-shaming quotes” are up 5x,
- Body acceptance quotes are up 7x, and
- “self-love illustration art” has increased 63x.