Aug. 19, 2022 – Instagram users can now filter out advertisements on an expanded number of topics, including weight loss programs.
In a statement, Instagram didn’t specifically mention weight loss or body image but said it has updated its “sensitive content control” function so that users “will now be able to control the amount of sensitive content and accounts you see in Search, Reels, Accounts You Might Follow, Hashtag Pages and In-Feed Recommendations.”
Body image became a major issue for Instagram after a whistleblower released documents showing Instagram knew the app caused mental health problems in young users, especially because of weight and body image. Instagram responded by installing safety features, such as reminders that users had been looking at their phones for too long.
Instagram influencers such as Katie Budenberg had urged the social media giant to make it possible for users to cut down on weight loss ads in their feeds, noting that Instagram already did that for subjects such as alcohol.
“It's no secret that the aim of a weight-loss ad is to make you feel inadequate in your body so that you are persuaded to pay the company large amounts of money to help you lose weight,” Budenberg said in her change.org petition. “To some, these ads may be harmless and they can scroll on but for some these ads are triggering and dangerous."
The petition has more than 30,000 supporters.
In an update to her change.org petition, Budenberg explained how to filter out the weight loss ads: Click on your profile and click on settings. Go to “ads” and click on “ad topics.” Search for the topics you find triggering, such as “body weight control.” Click on the topic and click on “see less.”