Pinterest bans all weight-loss ads

The service says its community has been embracing body neutrality.

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Pinterest has announced a complete ban on weight-loss ads, which goes into effect today. The policy builds on previous rules that prohibited ads for weight-loss or appetite-suppressant pills and supplements, liposuction and fat-burning procedures and body shaming.

There's now a blanket ban on ads with any weight-loss language or images, and those that reference Body Mass Index (BMI) or similar indexes. Testimonials about weight loss or weight-loss products are prohibited, as are language and images that denigrate or idealize body types. Additionally, you'll no longer see ads for products that claim to enable weight loss through something that's worn or applied to the skin.

Ads related to fitness products and services, and those promoting healthy habits and lifestyles, are still welcome. However, any that focus on weight loss won't be approved.

Pinterest developed the updated policy with the support of the National Eating Disorders Association. The organization said in March it had seen a 41 percent increase in helpline calls during the previous 12 months, and studies have suggested the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on many people with eating disorders. Whenever someone searches for content related to eating disorders on Pinterest, the company redirects that person to NEDA to provide them with helpful resources.

The company says its community has been embracing body neutrality, with searchers for that term, and quotes related to "healthy mindset," "stop body shaming" and "body acceptance" rising dramatically over the past year or so. Pinterest will highlight related pins from creators on the Today Tab "to showcase those reimagining the relationship with their bodies."

Pinterest says it's the first major platform to ban all weight loss ads and it urged others to do the same. Instagram and Facebook have restricted ads for diet products. Instagram also points users searching for eating disorder-related terms toward NEDA resources. Last year, TikTok prohibited ads for weight-loss supplements and those that “promote a harmful or negative body image.”