July 1 (Reuters) - Pinterest Inc is banning all ads
with weight loss language and imagery, including ads that
idealize or denigrate certain body types, it said on Thursday.
The digital pinboard site said it would also not allow ads
with testimonials about weight loss or weight loss products, or
ads referencing Body Mass Index (BMI) or similar indexes.
"This stance makes Pinterest the only major platform to
prohibit all weight loss ads. It's an expansion of our ad
policies that have long prohibited body shaming and dangerous
weight loss products or claims," the company said in a blog post
Ads promoting healthy lifestyles, habits or fitness services
and products are still allowed on the platform if they do not
"focus on weight loss." The company said it had developed the
policy with guidance from the National Eating Disorders
Pinterest's head of policy, Sarah Bromma, said in an
interview that the rule change prioritized Pinterest users'
"emotional and mental health and wellbeing, especially those
directly impacted by eating disorders or diet culture or body
Weight loss brands' spending on advertising across TV,
digital and print formats reached $372 million between January
and June 2021, up 89% compared to the same period last year,
according to advertising intelligence firm MediaRadar. It
reported a 120% increase in year-over-year spend for weight loss
ads on Facebook.
Pinterest, which has long grappled with combating pro-eating
disorder content on its site and has since 2015 blocked such
searches and directed users to expert organizations, already has
rules against ads promoting weight loss pills or those
containing before-and-after weight-loss imagery.
The company also said this week that its global head of
inclusion and diversity, Tyi McCray, was leaving the company
after less than a year. The move was first reported by Protocol.
Pinterest, which went public in 2019, has faced
controversies around diversity and inequality in the last year,
including when two former policy team employees alleged racial
discrimination in the workplace.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Editing by Steve
Orlofsky and Bill Berkrot)