Embracing body positivity, Pinterest bans all weight-loss ads

Starting this past Thursday, Pinterest is banning all ads with language and imagery related to weight loss, and all ads that idealize or denigrate certain body types. The platform's updated policy also prohibits advertising that includes testimonials on weight loss or weight loss products and ads that reference BMI or similar indexes. The policy change was developed in partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association.

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Preliminary research indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate effect on people with pre-existing mental illnesses, and those with eating disorders are of particular concern. As social media consumption increased during lockdowns, so did exposure to triggering messages and images.

Meanwhile, according to research firm MediaRadar, weight loss brands spent 89% more on advertising between January and June 2021, compared to the same period last year.

Pinterest — the world's 14th largest social network — is taking a clear stand by prioritizing the mental health of Pinners over ad revenues. User searches on the platform are moving in the same direction, with queries for body acceptance quotes up sevenfold compared to last year, and 'self-love illustration art' increasing 63x. Outside the confines of pinboards, Google Trends shows that searches for 'body positivity' are climbing worldwide, too.

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