TikTok is cracking down on weight loss ads that promote harmful body images – The Verge

Posted: September 30, 2020 at 2:57 am

TikTok is putting new restrictions on weight loss ads as the app increasingly comes under criticism for promoting dangerous diets. The new policy bans ads for fasting apps and weight loss supplements. It also puts increased restrictions on other weight loss-related ads, like limiting ads for weight management products to users over 18 years old and not allowing those ads to promote a negative body image or negative relationship with food.

Some of the new restrictions are vague, but theyre broadly designed to limit TikTok users especially teenagers exposure to potentially harmful imagery and language. These types of ads do not support the positive, inclusive, and safe experience we strive for on TikTok, Tara Wadhwa, TikToks safety policy manager, wrote in a blog post this morning.

TikTok has been criticized this year for running both ads and user-created videos that seem to promote eating disorders or otherwise unhealthy diets. BuzzFeed News reported in February that the app was filled with pro-eating disorder content that was triggering to some viewers. In July, the New York Post wrote about the dangers behind the apps what I eat in a day trend, in which people sometimes show themselves eating very little. Rolling Stone reported that TikTok was advertising dangerous fasting diets to teenage girls.

While the advertising crackdown is a useful starting point, the real thing TikTok has to contend with is its much-lauded algorithm. The apps For You Page endlessly serves up videos based on what gets people to stick around, so users could find themselves watching harmful videos without actively seeking them out. TikTok notes that you can long-press on a video and select not interested to tell the app to stop surfacing similar videos if you come across one.

TikTok is also partnering with the National Eating Disorder Association and will start redirecting searches and hashtags for terms it deems unsafe to the associations helpline.

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TikTok is cracking down on weight loss ads that promote harmful body images - The Verge

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