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Weight-loss Searches Drop on Pinterest: The Impact of Social Platform Policies on User Behavior

Pinterest on Weight-loss ads

Pinterest on Weight-loss adsAfter overindulging during the Covid 19 lockdown, social media became awash with weight-loss ads when summer came. When research showed that 80% of Gen 7 were experiencing “summer-body-ready” pressure, Pinterest took note and threatened to take action against dubious weight-loss ads and body shamming on the platform. 


On July 1st, 2021, Pinterest updated its policy prohibiting all ads relating to weight-loss language and imagery. Pinterest became the first social platform to ban weight loss Ads of any form and instead embraces body acceptance.


The immediate result at the time didn’t show much effect. Users continued to post weight-loss-related content such as weight-loss challenges and body transformations. 


One year since the ban, weight-loss-related searches on the platform have gone down by 20%. People are now searching for more positive information like “How to change my mindset” and “loving myself,” which have increased by 50% and 36% consecutively. There’s also a 65X increase for “Quick and healthy meals” searches.  


Sarah Bromma, Pinterest Head of Policy,  said, “When we implemented our weight loss ad ban a year ago, our hope was to continue building our platform as a safe and welcoming environment where all Pinners feel free to be who they are regardless of body shape or size. Now a year later, we are seeing a positive response from users, demonstrating the true impact such a policy can have on online behaviors and perceptions.” 


However, any Ads that promote healthy living behavior or fitness products and services are allowed unless it’s focussed on weight loss. 


How Pinterest Managed to Get These Weight-loss Searches Results

Pinterest is on a mission to serve inspirational content while identifying and eliminating harmful content such as hate speech, body shaming, and misinformation. This way, Pinners, and authentic brands can enjoy staying on the platform as they consume valuable content. 


As a result, “positive quotes lock screen” searches have risen three times. “Emotional awareness” searches have appeared 22 times compared to last year. 


Additionally, the removal of the weight loss Ads policy spurred a significant reduction in body shaming and weight loss Ads from individuals and brands. 

The Impact of the Weight-loss Ads Policy on Healthy Behavior and Body Positivity

Banning weight-loss ads on Pinterest may have looked like an extreme measure at the time. But today, the platform shows that policies that social media implement matter and have the ability to influence behaviors and perceptions.


Weight loss searches on the platform now revolve around self-confidence, well-being, and mental health.


Here is a breakdown of the various positive content Pinners are currently searching for and their trends:

Self-Confidence Improvement Tips

  • +50% “how to change your mindset.” 
  • +32% “how to become more confident “
  • 5X “positive self-affirmations” 
  • +36% “loving myself”   
  • 3X “accept your body”  
  • 2X “body positivity”

Multimedia ideas that embrace body positivity

  • 7X “body positive photography aesthetics” 
  • 5X “body positive line art” 

Exploring images that represent ourselves

  • “curvy body reference” searches increased by  5X
  • “curvy modelling” searches increased by  3X
  • “androgynous body type” searches increased by  +57%

Pinterest has not entirely wiped out weight loss content

The weight-loss ad ban policy helped minimize the volume of related content on Pinterest, but not entirely. Weight loss searches on the platform will not give blank results. You will end up with related content such as ‘flat stomach workout, ‘how I lost 50 pounds in 5 months without exercise, and ‘ brilliant ways to get skinny in a week,’ among others. However, the content is more user-generated than ad-generated. 

Other Key Players in the Fight Against Weight-loss Ad Content 

Some celebrities have joined the online masses to minimize weight-loss ad promotion and content consumption. Florence Pugh, a Hollywood actress, rebukes body shamers after they trolled her for wearing a sheer dress they felt was inappropriate due to her weight. The event occurred at the Valentino couture show. 


Lizzo, a celebrated American rapper, also launched a brand Body-positive fashion range recently. Elsewhere, the Australian actress Rebel Wilson promotes body positivity in most social media posts she engages in. 

Final Thoughts

Pinterest strives to fight against body shaming and weight loss online Ad content. As revealed in the Body Neutrality Report, there is a significant drop in the number of weight loss searches on the platform. 


Many Pinners celebrate the milestone since they can now surf on the platform without worrying about endless ads on weight loss. Although the fight is not entirely over, the outcome is impressive so far. The war can yield better results if all the social media platforms and search engines devote themselves to the same cause. 


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