Perhaps we share entirely too much on social media. It’s one thing to talk about inane stuff, vacations, exchange recipes, and argue over what makes a better pet, dogs or cats, but it’s quite another when illnesses – any illness – becomes the center of discussion and ends up being a relatable search term.
People recovering from Anorexia, a mental disorder where the victim is obsessed with losing weight, found that out the hard way when a new algorithm on the social media platform Instagram (owned by Facebook) started making suggestions for the users to follow diet pill information.
A Facebook company spokesman said:
“To help people discover content they’re interested in, we recently rolled out a new way to search on Instagram beyond hashtags and usernames, where you tap on the search bar and we suggest topics you may want to search for. Those suggestions, as well as the search results themselves, are limited to general interests.
“Weight loss should not have been one of them and we’ve taken steps to prevent these terms from appearing here. We’re sorry for any confusion caused.”
“When I use the app, I’m often promoted things like calorie counting images and diet methods. People go to Instagram for support with their illness.”
“But if you look at and research eating disorder recovery, then Instagram just throws harmful stuff at you, it can be really damaging.”
The people at Instagram have been busy over the years making sure that the information on its site is not harmful in a mental way to various populations dealing with the social pressures of body image and the culture that constantly tells people they are overweight and then follows that up with ads for chocolate and chips. The real truth is that maybe these people would be better off taking a walk than spending time in what amounts to an online support group.