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Do Instagram Hashtags Promote Eating Disorders?

The photo network’s filters don’t always halt posts that can promote anorexia and bulimia

Instagram’s search function does not always shield people at risk of eating disorders from seeing potentially harmful posts.

A Trending investigation has found that although the site has filters in place to make the most obvious eating disorder-related hashtags unsearchable, misspellings allow people to navigate around the restrictions.

And health warnings do not always pop up when users type in search terms that could lead them to some very extreme content.

We hear from people who have suffered from eating disorders who describe the kinds of things they have seen on Instagram, and tell us of the challenges of using a social network as part of the recovery process.

Instagram acknowledges the complexity of the issue and says it is dedicated to keeping harmful content away from vulnerable users. And as a result of our research, the Facebook-owned company has made some adjustments to try to further protect users.

Presenter: Anisa Subedar
Reporter: Joanne Whalley

(Photo: A photo of a pizza being taken on a smartphone. Credit: Getty Images)

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23 minutes

Broadcasts

  • Fri 7 Dec 2018 21:06GMT
  • Fri 7 Dec 2018 23:06GMT
  • Sat 8 Dec 2018 05:32GMT
  • Sat 8 Dec 2018 11:32GMT

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