TikTok to restrict ads promoting ‘negative body image’

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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TikTok, the popular video sharing app, will restrict advertisements that “promote a body image that is unhealthy and negative.”

It would also ban commercials about fasting and weight loss supplements on its platform.

On TikTok, which has a significant young audience, these sorts of advertisements have become commonplace. More than a third of TikTok’s 49 million daily users are younger than 15 years old, according to reports.

TikTok users have noticed a spike in advertising that endorse intermittent fasting and other products intended to help with weight loss on the platform, in recent months.

“These types of ads do not support the positive, inclusive and safe experience we strive for on TikTok,” the company said in a statement.

In a blog post, TikTok also said that it is implementing new policies to “fight problematic and unrealistic claims in diet and weight weight loss products and place stricter restrictions on claims for weight loss and body image references,” it said.

This ensures that weight control products can only target consumers who claim they are 18 or older, and, among other laws, advertisements promoting weight loss cannot “promote a negative body image or a negative food relationship.”

TikTok also said that it is working with the National Eating Disorders Organization (NEDA), based in the US, to directly connect users with resources from the app. “As part of this, we will soon begin redirecting searches and hashtags to the NEDA Helpline, where NEDA will then provide our community with confidential support, tools and resources for terms provided to us, or linked with unsafe content we have removed from our site,” a TikTok blog post said.

The news comes a few days after President Donald Trump said he agreed to a TikTok agreement with Oracle and Walmart in principle, allowing the US operations of the app to continue. But uncertainty persists over the transaction, with ByteDance, parent of TikTok, claiming it will own 80% of the US-based TikTok Global, and Oracle claiming that the new company will be “majorly” owned by Americans.

Recently, TikTok had also called on other social media firms for a global partnership to identify and curb harmful content on these platforms.