Instagram is launching new features to help support users on its platform who may be affected by negative body image or an eating disorder, the company has announced.
Previously, Instagram had limited its policy to obscuring content that may trigger users suffering from an eating disorder, but the new policy adds to this by aiming to surface more expert-backed resources when people search for content related to the issues.
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.
Going forward, users in the U.S. who search for content related to topics like eating disorder recovery will now see links to built-in resources provided by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), with equivalent links to local helplines in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Likewise, links to these resources will be highlighted 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, Instagram will also make it easier to connect with friends by adding the ability to message on Instagram directly from the above resources.
In addition, the Facebook-owned company says it will be 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. It is also working with NEDA to share programming during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the U.S. for the third year in a row.
Instagram has further resources available online for anyone who wants to learn more about supporting a friend who may be struggling with any of the above issues.