Instagram quietly introduces feature allowing users to filter weight loss ads from feeds

The new feature allows users to limit the adverts (Getty Images)
The new feature allows users to limit the adverts (Getty Images)

Instagram has quietly updated its content controls to allow users to limit weight loss adverts on their feeds.

The change, which allows users to customise the suggested content on their homepage, comes after the social media platform was criticised for allowing “triggering” and “dangerous” adverts to go unchecked.

Instagram said users will be able to “control the amount of sensitive content and accounts you see in Search, Reels, Accounts You Might Follow, Hashtag Pages and In-Feed Recommendations”.

Users can limit weight loss adds from their feeds in four simple steps. Head to “settings” and click “ad”. Then click “ad topics”, and type in “body weight control” in the search bar. Lastly select “see less”.

Instagram said users who select “see less” won’t get “as many ads” about the topic, but it does not state it would remove the adverts completely.

The news comes after Instagram influencer Katie Budenberg launched a petition asking Instagram to take action against these adverts on the platform.

The campaign, which received more than 30,000 signatures, said weight-loss adverts made people feel “inadequate”.

“To some, these ads may be harmless and they can scroll on but for some these ads are triggering and dangerous,” Budenberg said.

“This is why we are asking that Instagram adds the option to not see weight-loss ads; this setting already exists for other potentially triggering topics, such as alcohol and parenting, and should be extended to weight-loss.

“This setting would make Instagram a safer, and therefore a more inclusive, place for those with a history of disordered eating and/or body image issues.”

The change to Instagram comes a little over a year after Pinterest prohibited all weight loss adverts from its website.

“It’s an expansion of our ad policies that have long prohibited body shaming and dangerous weight loss products or claims,” Pinterest said in an announcement.

“We encourage others in the industry to do the same and acknowledge, once and for all, that there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all.”