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Can We Stop The Spread Of Eating Disorder Celebration On Instagram?

| Filed under: Tech TalkSad SadHealth


People are livid and cracking down on everything "thinspo" or pro-eating disorder on the web right now, which we think it a fab thing to crack down on.

The problem is, new social media seems to pop up regularly, spreading the watchdogs thin and making it harder and harder to keep awful movements like this in check. Like, Instagram for instance.

Instagram has already taken steps to monitor hashtags and images that celebrate disordered eating and emaciated bodies, such as #thinspo and #anorexia, but it isn't enough. It's way too easy to be harmful.

Here's what one non-profit watch group said:

"It's worrying that with the powerful medium of social networking and the growing popularity of phone apps such as Instagram, people are able to easily access images that encourage the individual to believe that an eating disorder is a lifestyle choice and to avoid treatment. Some sites have acted to remove content that is seen as dangerous and encouraging people to do dangerous things. Eating disorders as a lifestyle choice should be treated in the same way."

And here's another report:

'Although Instagram hasn't outright disabled its search function for all eating-disorder related terms, a content-advisory warning — along with a link to the National Eating Disorders' website — shows up before users can click on the images.

Such a warning is not a full-proof deterrence, however, since users can still glorify the images with their comments.'

Something needs to be done, but the issue at hand is that people will think of new terms and new ways to tag and search for what they're looking for. Perhaps we need some sort of technology that can pick out the image by it's content, but that sounds like a disaster for false-positives.

It's just a shame things like this become popular in the first place, instead of positive self-images!

With 80 million users and WAY less moderators, what can we do?

[Image via AP Images.]

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