TikTok is best known as THE source for sharing short videos. You may have noticed your kids learning TikTok dances or showing you hysterical TikTok videos. As of 2019, it was the second-most downloaded app globally, with over one billion users, most of whom are younger than 15 years old. Because of their young demographic, TikTok has recognized the importance of protecting its users from harmful content, specifically ads focused on body image.
Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to body image dissatisfaction and that’s why TikTok has chosen to ban ads that promote fasting apps as well as short-term and excessive weight loss claims. As explained by TikTok, “As a society, weight stigma and body shaming pose both individual and cultural challenges, and we know that the internet, if left unchecked, has the risk of exacerbating such issues. That’s why we’re focused on working to safeguard our community from harmful content and behavior while supporting an inclusive – and body-positive – environment.” TikTok has identified the influence advertising and social media have on body image dissatisfaction among children, teens and young adults. Although negative body image issues can affect all age groups, it is especially concerning in the younger demographic when they are seeking acceptance and validation on social media.