How we’re supporting people affected by eating disorders and negative body image
February 23, 2021
Today, 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.
New expert-backed resources
While we don’t allow content that promotes or encourages self-harm and eating disorders, we do allow people to share their own experiences and journeys around self-image and body acceptance. We know that these stories can prompt important conversations and provide community support, but can also be triggering for some. To address this, when someone tries to search for or share self-harm related content, we currently blur potentially triggering images and point people to helpful resources. However, 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.
These new resources will include contacts for local eating disorders hotlines in certain countries, such as Beat in the UK, National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Canada and Butterfly Foundation in Australia, as well as new advice on how to build body confidence that we built in partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) in the US. 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. 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. In the coming weeks, we’ll also make it easier to connect with friends in the moment by adding the ability to message on Instagram directly from the resources.
Working with experts on our approach
We don't want anyone on Instagram to feel marginalized, particularly people with eating disorders or body image issues. While we already work in partnership with experts to understand how to support those affected by eating disorders, there’s always more we can learn. That’s why we’re 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.
Inspiring content from community leaders
We’re also working with NEDA to share programming during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the US for the third year in a row. Throughout the week, community leaders like @mikzazon, @jamesissmiling and @kendramorous will be sharing Reels to encourage positive body image, push back against weight stigma and harmful stereotypes, and show that all bodies are worthy and deserve to be celebrated.
To learn more about supporting a friend who may be struggling, you can view resources here.