Experts have warned that body-editing apps advertised on social media platforms TikTok and Instagram are “triggering” youngsters with eating disorders.
Adverts of editing apps are used to change the shapes of body parts, including making waists slimmer, etc. But, eating disorder charities have warned that technology firms should consider the impact of body-editing apps on vulnerable people.
Eating disorder campaigner Hope Virgo said that social media companies need to be held to account and “stop this unhealthy and unhelpful messaging.”
“Over the last year, we have seen a huge increase in the number of people with eating disorders, and while eating disorders aren’t necessarily caused by bad body image, we know there are some intrinsic links.
“The fact that Instagram and TikTok are currently advertising body-changing apps will fuel this epidemic of eating disorders further.”
Teenagers have been the most affected.
Eating disorder charity Seed mentioned that it has seen a 68% rise in children and teenagers aged between 10 and 19 seeking support since the pandemic.
A popular health journalist Danae Mercer shared her experience of disordered eating:
“I know from my own experience, these apps can be triggering,” she told the international news agency. The apps make me thinner and curvier than my body, even if I trained all the time, could ever be. They eliminate my pores in a way that’s not even possible in nature. They create a ‘me’ that is, quite simply, unachievable – and they do it all with a click of a button.”
“The impact of technology like this is immense, and honestly I don’t think we’ll see the full result of it for years”
On the other hand, the social media platforms said that the apps did not break advertising guidance, but TikTok added it does reviews its policies.
It said it is “continually looking to enhance” its framework to “support a body-positive environment”.