TikTok Takes On Weight Stigma, Body Shaming

The video creation platform teamed up with the National Eating Disorders Association

NEDA will provide confidential support, tools and resources National Eating Disorders Association

TikTok detailed steps it is taking to support body positivity on its platform while moving to eliminate weight stigma and body shaming.

On the advertising side, the video creation platform is banning ads for fasting applications and weight-loss supplements, as well as tightening restrictions on ads that promote harmful or negative body image.

TikTok is also adding new ad policies to combat problematic and exaggerated claims in diet and weight-loss products, and the platform is placing stronger restrictions on weight-loss claims and references to body image.

Ads for weight-management products can only be served to people 18 and older, and ads cannot promote a negative relationship with food.

For users, in-app controls include the ability to report ads or content that promote harmful behaviors or imagery by long-pressing on the video and selecting report, followed by self-harm.

TikTok users who encounter content that they find triggering or upsetting can long-press on the video, select not interested and choose to hide future videos from the creator or videos using the same sound.

Comment filters are available via TikTok’s app settings, enabling users to either automatically hide offensive comments that the platform’s system detects on their videos, or to create a custom list of keywords, ensuring that comments containing those words will be automatically hidden.

Finally, as always, members of the TikTok community engaging in unkind behavior can be blocked and reported directly via their profiles, so they can no longer find or engage with the content of the user who reported them.

TikTok also teamed up with the National Eating Disorders Association to connect users looking for support to resources, directly via the app.

The platform said it will soon begin redirecting searches and hashtags associated with unsafe content already removed from its platform or provided by NEDA to the NEDA help line, where the association will provide confidential support, tools and resources.

And TikTok will support Weight Stigma Awareness Week Sept. 28 through Oct. 2 by adding a dedicated page to the app in support of NEDA’s #EndWeightHate campaign.

The page will be featured on TikTok’s Discover tab, and it will help educate the community about what weight stigma is, why it should matter and how they can find support or support others.

A dedicated TikTok page will support NEDA’s #EndWeightHateCampaignNational Eating Disorders Association

NEDA CEO Claire Mysko said in a TikTok blog post Wednesday, “We are encouraged to see a prominent platform like TikTok join the movement to end weight hate and challenge fatphobia. Weight stigma has been documented as a significant risk factor for depression, body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. Research shows that those who experience weight-based stigmatization are at an increased risk for eating disorder symptoms. Weight stigma and discrimination harms all of us. Social media is a powerful tool to create safe and inclusive spaces where all bodies are accepted and celebrated.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.