If a user searches for tags or content potentially related to an eating disorder, the company directs the user to resources or help lines provided by the National Eating Disorders Association in the United States, as well as others in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
Instagram says: It is currently trying to blur content that is likely to appear in search results, and it is directing people to public support for crises, but it must now direct users to resources specifically designed around eating disorders.
In a blog post, the platform also explained that it plans to show resources if someone is trying to share content related to an eating disorder, or if a friend is worried about something they see posted and wants to provide support.
Currently, searching for content related to eating disorders takes you to the General Helpline list, which includes not only the National Eating Disorders Association, but the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Veterans Crisis Line, and Project Trevor as well.
However, the Instagram screenshots indicate that the support button specifically refers to the contacts of the National Association for Eating Disorders of People, rather than just showing the full list of helplines available to them.
As part of the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week program, the company also says it plans to work with community leaders to publish Reels videos that encourage body-positive image, avoid harmful stereotypes, and show that all bodies are worthy and worth celebrating.
Instagram has had problems in the past trying to regulate eating disorder content, and the social network is often brought up in conversations about negative body image and perception, especially among young adults.
Although prioritizing higher resources will likely not help much with solving self-esteem issues after using the site, it should help people who are struggling get easier access to help from experts.
This update is similar to what TikTok announced, however, unlike TikTok, it doesn’t look as if Instagram has indicated that it has taken up resources on disruption before, despite it being featured in the public list of helplines.
And if a TikTok user searches for the terms of an eating disorder, the app now displays support resources, along with the phone number of the National Eating Disorders Association.
TikTok also plans to place public service announcements through hashtag pages that may contain motivational content. The PSAs include a link to the National Eating Disorders Association’s helpline, as well as a number that users can send text messages to in support of crises.