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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 25 ― Certain social media platforms are taking action to help promote positive body perception and direct users to help and support on the occasion of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the United States. Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest have all rolled out initiatives offering users information and support around the issue ― another step in the fight against notions of the “perfect body,” even if these can often be exacerbated by social media.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs until February 28 in the US, offering social media sites the opportunity to take concrete action in promoting more positive and inclusive representations of bodies online. On Instagram, users will see various resources displayed in searches for certain hashtags or subjects: “These new resources will include contacts for local eating disorders hotlines in certain countries, such as Beat in the UK, the National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Canada and the Butterfly Foundation in Australia, as well as new advice on how to build body confidence that we built in partnership with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) in the US,” the social media site owned by Mark Zuckerberg explained in a statement.
Moreover, Instagram is currently working with influencers to encourage a more positive body image through its Reels format. Although often accused of encouraging unrealistic representations of the body because of images modified by Photoshop, Instagram points out that the platform does not allow content that promotes or encourages self-harm and eating disorders.
Permanent measures on TikTok
For its part, TikTok tends to have a better reputation on body representation. Still, like Instagram, the Chinese platform has rolled out advice and tools offering support for users searching for subjects relating to eating disorders. “Starting this week, when a user searches for #edrecovery #proana or other phrases related to eating disorders, we'll provide access to the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline where they can find help, support, and information about treatment options,” explains TikTok in a blog post. Users in the US will also be able to access a special page via the “Discover” tab.
On top of that, TikTok has announced that is adding permanent public service announcements to hashtags like “whatieatinaday”, “emotionaleatingtips” or “bingerecovery” in the aim of raising awareness and fostering support around recovery for those affected by eating disorders.
Pinterest too has teamed up with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to create a series of Story Pins raising awareness about eating disorders and offering links to support services and educational resources. The platform is encouraging users to share their experiences and provides useful resources for anyone searching for related topics. ― ETX Studio