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Pinterest bans weight loss-related ads to promote body acceptance

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Jul 02, 2021 5:01 pm

Pinterest is banning all ads with weight loss language and imagery, acknowledging “there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all.”

Pinterest is where people go to get inspiration and curate ideas for just about anything—from fashion to photography, weddings, recipes to hairstyles and nail art—and bookmark them in a virtual pinboard.

With its update in its ad policies, the site is maintaining its feel-good, inclusive atmosphere where “everyone belongs, regardless of body shape and size.”

Guided by the US-based National Eating Disorders Association, Pinterest’s updated policy, which took effect on July 1, is an expansion of its ad policies that prohibit body shaming and dangerous weight loss products or claims.

“There’s been a steep rise in unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders in young people since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year,” said Pinterest in a statement, citing research from the National Eating Disorders Association.

The digital pinboard site also noted that a lot of people are facing challenges related to body image as they look to slowly rejoin social circles in person after over a year of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re empowering Pinners to plan for a summer and beyond without weight loss ads, so they can focus on what matters most,” said Pinterest, which claims it is the only major platform to prohibit all weight loss ads.

Ads that are now prohibited on the site include weight loss language or imagery, testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products, language or imagery that idealizes or degrades certain body types, and products that claim weight loss through something worn or applied to the skin.

These are in addition to site’s policies that are already in place, prohibiting ad content like weight loss or appetite suppressant pills and products, before-and-after weight loss images, body shaming, and weight loss procedures.

Pinterest said that ads promoting healthy lifestyles and habits or fitness services and products would still be allowed, as long as they don’t focus on weight loss.

The site has long dealt with restrictions of its ads and content. In 2012, it banned content on harmful messaging like “thinspo” and “thinspiration.” It also stopped running political ads in 2018, and in 2019, it banned anti-vaccination searches to fight the spread of misinformation.

With its move to update its policies anew, Pinterest urged others to follow suit. “We encourage others in the industry to do the same and acknowledge, once and for all, that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all.”