Social Media

Instagram to help people access support for eating disorders and body image issues

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 23, 2021 Published on February 23, 2021

Instagram is adding new ways to help people affected by eating disorders and negative body image to seek support on the platform.

This includes surfacing expert resources and eating disorder hotlines in certain countries.

“We’re introducing new ways to support people on Instagram who may be affected by negative body image or an eating disorder, including surfacing more expert-backed resources when people search for eating disorder-related content, expanding our work with experts to help inform our policies, and collaborating with community leaders to help them create and share positive, inspiring body image content,” the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform said in a blog post.

While the platform does not allow content that promotes or encourages self-harm and eating disorders, it does allow people to share their own experiences and journeys around self-image and body acceptance. However, when a user searches for self-harm related content, it blurs the images that can potentially be triggering and directs people to helpful resources.

It is now expending the policy to surface expert resources when people search for eating disorder-related content.

“We’ve heard from experts that we would support people more if we made available dedicated resources to cope with eating disorders or body dissatisfaction, which is why we are introducing new resources specific to body image issues,” it said.

The new resources will include contacts for local eating disorders hotlines in certain countries, such as Beat in the United Kingdom, National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Canada and Butterfly Foundation in Australia, as well as new advice on how to build body confidence that it built in partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) in the United States.

“As experts tell us that intervening early can be helpful, if someone tries searching for terms related to disordered eating, we’ll share these resources first before showing the search results,” it said.

“These resources will also be surfaced if someone tries sharing this content, or if a friend is concerned about something they see posted and wants to offer support,” it added.

The platform will also make it easier for users to connect with their friends by adding the ability to message on Instagram directly from the resources, in the coming weeks.

The social media major will also be hosting feedback sessions with community leaders and experts globally to “learn more about emerging issues in the eating disorders space, and new approaches for offering support,” it said.

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Published on February 23, 2021
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