TikTok To Ban Disordered Eating Content
The platform has announced new policy changes that will clamp down on disordered eating content.
On Tuesday, February 8th, 2022 TikTok announced that they were changing their policies “to promote safety, security and well-being” including new rules surrounding content about disordered eating. Although the platform has already banned content that “promotes eating disorders”, the new policies will attempt to strengthen the protection of viewers by removing content that promotes disordered eating.
TikTok has come under a lot of scrutiny in the past for its promotion of eating disorders and disordered eating, especially considering the fact that the platform’s main demographic are young viewers who can be easily influenced by such content. These videos include the promotion of dangerous weight-loss tactics as well as similar glorifications of “#thinspiration” to that of Tumblr in the 2010s.
TikTok announced in their statement that their new “aim is to acknowledge more symptoms, such as overexercise or short-term fasting, that are frequently under-recognized signs of a potential problem” in order to further improve the protection of their users. However, the platform is not only a place where disordered eating is wrongfully promoted, it also provides a community for those who are in recovery. Many users who are in recovery from an eating disorder or disordered eating post videos such as ‘What I Eat in a Day - ED Recovery’ or ‘Eating my Fear Foods’ in order to capture their recovery process and to support their viewers through their own; the ambiguity of TikTok’s statement brings into question whether or not these videos will survive the platform’s new policy. Whilst it is extremely important that TikTok cracks down on content that promotes disordered eating, there is concern surrounding recovery content that may be wrongfully removed which would isolate many users who may use the platform as a way to find a community to help with their own recovery.