A few weeks ago we made a case for why Instagram could (and should) be the next social media site to ban thinspiration and pro-anorexic content. Instagram, it seems, was listening.
Over the weekend, the photo-sharing app updated its community guidelines with the following stipulation:
Don't promote or glorify self-harm: While Instagram is a place where people can share their lives with others through photographs, any account found encouraging or urging users to embrace anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders; or to cut, harm themselves, or commit suicide will result in a disabled account without warning. We believe that communication regarding these behaviors in order to create awareness, come together for support and to facilitate recovery is important, but that Instagram is not the place for active promotion or glorification of self-harm.
Previously, the site's guidelines merely warned users that their photos were "visible to people as young as 13 years old," and to keep their content "in line with our App Store’s rating for nudity and mature content." But given the app's huge proliferation of thinspirational content (a month ago there were 30,000 tagged as thinspo), Instagram has wisely decided to tackle the issue head on with their new guidelines.
According to The Huffington Post, tags like “thinspiration”, “probulimia”, and “proanorexia” can no longer be searched, while tags related to eating disorders but not necessary glorifying them will be accompanied by an advisory that reads: "Please be advised: These images may contain graphic content. For information and support with eating disorders, visit nationaleatingdisorders.org."
Facebook, who bought Instagram a few weeks ago, and who has previously taken a hard line with pro-anorexic and self-harm content, probably had a hand in the recent crackdown. Then again, maybe Alexa Chung's recent run-in with Instagram's thinspo community, which prompted the star to make her account private, also provided impetus. Whatever the reason, there's no doubt that Instagram's new rules, following in the steps of Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook, are a step in the right direction towards more responsible online content.
This is one trend we hope will continue.