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Instagram apologises after app suggests ‘weight loss’ to users

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Instagram has apologised after an update to the popular picture-sharing app suggested content related to “weight loss’, ‘losing weight’, and ‘burning calories’ to users.

As part of a new update, Instagram provides suggestions for content users may be interested in. An influencer, Emily Clarkson, complained that her followers were being suggested content related to dieting and weight loss and that it could lead to body confidence issues.

“At a time when social media platforms are claiming to take more responsibility for their users’ mental health, it strikes me as a bit distressing that they would be putting suggestions like this in front of the noses of people who haven’t asked for them,” Clarkson told The Cube.

The Cube reached out to Instagram’s owners Facebook, providing them with screenshots from users who had experienced what some called potentially dangerous search suggestions.

“Yesterday, we started to roll out a new search functionality on Instagram beyond hashtags and usernames, to help you more easily discover and explore content you’re most interested in. As part of this new feature, when you tap on the search bar, we’ll suggest topics you may want to search for.

“Those suggestions, as well as the search results themselves, are limited to general interests, and weight loss should not have been one of them. We’ve taken steps to prevent weight loss terms from appearing here,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Cube.

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