Instagram fixes ‘mistake’ promoting harmful diet content

Instagram fixes ‘mistake’ promoting harmful diet content
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Instagram, one of the biggest social media, has apologised after a “mistake” with its algorithm promoted diet content to users with eating disorders.

The search function in the app automatically recommended terms including “fasting” and “appetite suppressants” to some people.

Eating disorder campaigners told that vulnerable people could be triggered and even relapse.

Instagram said harmful terms have now been removed.

A spokesman for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told that it was a “mistake” and the issue was resolved on Monday.

He added: “We recently rolled out a new search functionality on Instagram beyond hashtags and usernames, to help you more easily discover and explore content you’re most interested in,” he added.

“As part of this new feature, when you tap on the search bar, we’ll suggest topics you may want to search for,” the spokesperson added.

The social media platform bans any content that “promotes, encourages or glorifies eating disorders” and restricts posts advertising weight-loss products to over-18s.

Hope Virgo, an eating disorder campaigner with more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, said the issue is getting worse on the app.

She said vulnerable people are getting inundated with this content, and they are not even actively searching for it.

“Instagram has the resources and expertise to remove content that triggers people and instead promote healthy messaging,” she added.

But users with a history of eating disorders have told in an interview with BBC that they are repeatedly recommended “damaging” content on the app.

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