Earlier this year, the NHS warned that celebrity-endorsed ‘health’ supplements and diet techniques can do more harm than good without correct advice, with many – particularly younger – users, risking mental health and body image distress as a result of online content.
As a results, the chief executive of the NHS in England has called on all social media firms to crack down on potentially harmful material after two of the biggest sites confirm they plan to act on health service demands for action.
As a direct result of the plea, Facebook and Instagram have announced that they will remove posts promoting ‘miracle’ cures and get-slim-quick products, which are known to have limited benefits with possible damaging side effects.
The move follows a series of requests from health service chiefs including NHS chief executive Simon Stevens to act responsibly and protect users from content that could cause physical or mental harm.
Stevens explained that “Every business should put a premium on its customers’ well-being and it’s welcome that social media giants are beginning to listen to NHS calls to rein in harmful or misleading content that could harm users’ health.”
He continued to confirm that “The NHS is ramping up prevention and treatment for mental as well as physical health through our Long Term Plan. Cracking down on ads for get-slim quick pills, misleading health advice and content that can enflame concerns about body image is what responsible companies routinely now all do.”
Celebrity social media accounts are highly influential, particularly to young people as 70% of 12-15 year olds have at least one online profile.