TikTok has banned adverts for weight loss supplements and products for its teenage users amid concerns that it fosters a culture of body shaming.
Additionally, the video-sharing platform has said that it will now ban advertisements for fasting apps on its platform.
The changes come as TikTok makes an effort to address ‘weight stigma being heightened’ during the pandemic.
Now, a limited number of advertisements for weight loss products will only reach those over the age of 18.
The platform says these advertisements will be heavily monitored to ensure that irresponsible claims and those that promote a negative body image will not appear.
A statement from TikTok explains: “In response to weight stigma and body shaming continuing to challenge individuals and being heightened during Covid-19, a combination of new policies, stricter user controls and external partnerships are being rolled out in a move to tackle harmful content that can further exacerbate these issues.”
The move has been welcomed by eating disorder charity, Beat.
“We welcome TikTok’s new measures to limit the amount of harmful advertising on their platform and look forward to seeing the results of these changes,’ says Tom Quinn, Beat’s director of external affairs.
“Weight loss products can be very attractive to people affected by eating disorders.
"We know that the spread of these damaging weight loss claims, particularly the spike in fasting adverts shown on social media platforms, has caused great distress and risked triggering eating disorder behaviours in many of those suffering.”
The organisation added that using social media can be both helpful and harmful for those recovering from an eating disorder.
"We would encourage anyone struggling to report harmful content wherever possible, but also consider taking a step away and instead focusing on other positive sources of support like Beat."
For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677.
NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040.