TikTok Cracks Down On Diet Culture Content

Bottle with weight loss pills, scales and measuring tape on white wooden background to represent diet culture with tiktok logo in front
TikTok Diet Culture Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

This article contains descriptions of diet culture and disordered eating.

From ‘legging legs’ to ‘girl dinner,’ TikTok hasn’t got the best track record for diet content. But with new policies, the platform is doing more to prevent the proliferation of toxic diet culture content.

As of May 17, the platform says it will prohibit “potentially harmful weight management behavior” from its For You Page.

What kind of diet culture content is no longer allowed on TikTok?

TikTok’s new For You Feed Eligibility Standards will crack down on diet culture posts. Specifically, those that promote extended intermittent fasting and the use of weight loss medications. 

The algorithm will no longer promote videos focused on “exercises designed for rapid and significant weight loss” or “ideal” body types. TikTok will also remove before-and-after videos and clips promoting cosmetic surgery without risk information.

In an interview with the New York Times, Tara Wadhwa, TikTok’s director of policy, explained that moderation of this type of content is twofold.

Firstly, machine learning models will flag and remove content deemed as potentially damaging. Then, human moderators will review said videos. They will decide if TikTok needs to age-restrict these videos, remove them from the For You Page, or remove them from the app altogether.

According to TikTok, this process will aim to “interrupt repetitive content patterns.” Wadhwa told the New York Times that the platform wants to ensure the platform doesn’t expose this content “in sequential order, or repeatedly over and over again” to users.

For more information about eating disorders or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Eating Disorders Organization.

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