Pinterest has become the first major social media platform to ban all forms of weight-loss ads and posts that encourage certain body types or shapes over others from July 1.

According to a statement by the company, this move has been adopted to help people deal with body image issues after being in lockdown for over 15 months due to the pandemic. The platform, which relies heavily on images, has also said that it will disallow testimonials on weight loss and products that aid in it, along with ‘before-after photos of the same, and advertisements referencing body mass index (BMI) as well.

“Pinterest is the place people come for inspiration to create the life they love,” the company said in a blog post. “It’s where everyone belongs — regardless of body shape or size. We’re empowering Pinners to plan for summer and beyond without weight loss ads, so they can focus on what matters most,” it added.

Pinterest’s policy will prohibit any weight loss language or imagery, any testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products, any language or imagery that idealises 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. Ads for weight loss or appetite suppressant pills, before-and-after weight loss imagery, weight loss procedures like liposuction or fat burning, body shaming, and “unrealistic claims about cosmetic results were already banned under the policy.

According to a by The Guardian, the platform has 60 per cent female users across the world. In 2015, it blocked searches for content that could lead users to pro-eating disorder posts. In 2016, it prohibited ads for “sensitive content including cultural appropriated and inappropriate costumes”. It also stopped running political ads in 2018 and 2019, whereas it was also one of the first social media companies to block anti-vaccination content, to prevent misinformation from spreading on its platform.

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