Instagram just announced stricter guidelines for sponsored weight loss & beauty content

Kelsey Formost

01 Oct 2019 · 2 min read


Instagram has long been trending towards an e-commerce model, with more and more sponsored posts being pushed into users’ feeds by the day. But when the popular social media platform issued a press release announcing a new feature, it wasn’t another way for users to promote or buy products. On the contrary, Instagram will now be restricting users under the age of 18 from seeing content that incentivizes them to buy weight loss products, cosmetic surgery or enhancements, or any diet-related material the platform deems “potentially harmful”. The new policy extends to Instagram’s parent company, Facebook.

While the strictest regulations will be imposed on users under 18, Facebook and Instagram will be cracking down on the content of sponsored posts in the beauty and weight loss industries across the board.

With 2019’s markedly declining engagement rates, more brands than ever are paying to get their products in front of Instagram and Facebook audiences. This is especially true of these controversial sects of the beauty industry. Cosmetic enhancement & diet brands are willing to spend their ad budgets on social media for good reason; with a daily user rate of 500M+ and sponsored social posts gleaning 11xs the success of a display ad, brands are seeing a much higher ROI with influencer marketing with than traditional advertising. But with these new restrictions, that sponsored content is no longer guaranteed to be pushed to a user’s feed, regardless of their age.

The crackdown extends beyond just hiding posts, in some cases, posts will be deleted completely. Instagram and Facebook will now remove a post entirely if it “makes a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products, and is linked to a commercial offer such as a discount code.” Posts that incentivize users to buy weight loss products, cosmetic surgery, or any post that promotes “miracle” results will no longer be allowed on either platform.

While Instagram says these kinds of posts have never been allowed under their advertising guidelines & restrictions policy, it has remained much of a gray area until now. The new restraints on products advertising impossible beauty standards is being applauded by celebrities and users alike.

Actress Jameela Jamil called attention to the issue last year with a series of viral tweets condemning Instagram for allowing celebs like the Kardashians to promote potentially harmful weight loss products to young users.

“As someone who struggled with an eating disorder for most of my youth, I’ve personally known and suffered the perils of the devious side of the diet/detox industry,” she said. “Our generation...deserve[s] respect and protection from the celebrities and influencers that they follow.”

Instagram’s public policy manager, Emma Collins, said in a press release that the updated policy is part of Instagram’s mission to make the platform “a positive place for everyone, [and to] reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media.”

Any beauty, wellness, weight loss, or cosmetic enhancement brands should take care to go over the new restrictions before moving forward with any new social media campaigns.

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