Pinterest just banned weight loss ads. For those struggling with eating disorders, it’s ‘validating.’
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Sravya Attaluri is well-acquainted with a dark side of social media.
Over the past 10 years, the 25-year-old has dealt with disordered eating, anxiety, depression and extreme weight fluctuations. At the height of her eating disorder, Attaluri says, she obsessively sought out transformation videos and weight loss posts on social media. She believed this content — often promoting diet products and dangerous diets — would persuade her to lose weight.
“I started to get more desperate and tried more and more dangerous methods to lose weight,” Attaluri says. “Every time this type of content would pop up on my feed, I would end up spiraling.”
Personal accounts like Attaluri’s, as well as research, have consistently shown the potential negative mental health impacts of social media. But companies have historically done little to protect users.
That’s why a recent announcement by Pinterest is making headlines: On July 1, it became the first major social media platform to ban weight loss ads and testimonials.