Pinterest updated its ad policies effective Thursday (July 1) to prohibit ads containing weight loss language and imagery from its platform.
The platform said in a blog post Thursday that people are facing the dual challenges of emerging from the pandemic and heading into the summer, adding that the National Eating Disorders Association reported a “steep rise” in unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders in young people since the start of the pandemic last year.
Pinterest’s updated policy—developed with the advice and guidance of NEDA—now prohibits:
- Any weight loss language or imagery.
- Any testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products.
- Any language or imagery that idealizes or denigrates certain body types.
- Referencing body mass index or similar indices.
- Any products that claim weight loss through something worn or applied to the skin.
Ad content that had already been prohibited on the platform included:
- Weight loss or appetite suppressant pills, supplements or other products.
- Before-and-after weight-loss imagery.
- Weight loss procedures like liposuction or fat burning.
- Body shaming, such as imagery or language that mocks or discredits certain body types or appearances.
- Claims regarding unrealistic cosmetic results.
Pinterest said the updates make it the only major platform to prohibit all weight loss ads, and it encouraged the rest of the sector to follow suit.
Ads promoting healthy lifestyles and habits or fitness services and products will still be allowed, as long as they don’t focus on weight loss.
Pinterest said searches for “healthy mindset quotes” are up 13 times year over year, while “body neutrality” and “stop body shaming quotes” are up five times.
The company added that searches for “body acceptance quotes” rose by seven times year over year, while “self-love illustration art” queries are up 63 times over the same period.
Head of policy Sarah Bromma wrote in the blog post, “As Pinterest and our Pinner base continues to grow, we remain focused on maintaining a safe, positive, inspiring and relevant Pinner experience. People of all ages are facing challenges related to body image and mental health, particularly as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and kick-off the summer season. We believe updating our ad policy globally to prohibit all ads with weight loss language and imagery is an important step in prioritizing the mental health and well-being of our Pinners and fostering a place on the internet where they can be themselves, embrace their bodies regardless of shape or size and feel comfortable with who they are.”
NEDA interim CEO Elizabeth Thompson added, “NEDA applauds Pinterest for taking a leadership position as the first platform to prohibit all ads with weight-loss language and imagery. 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 that 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.”
And ErosSTX president, media and marketing innovation Amy Elkins wrote, “Pinterest’s policy update to prohibit weight loss ads is the type of bold leadership we need across the industry and shows a true commitment to creating an inspiring ad environment. We should all invest in demanding self-esteem positive experiences. This policy change supporting mental health and our collective welfare is significant to me both as an advertiser and especially as a mother to a teenage daughter.”