Saturday, January 16, 2021

Facebook responding to concerns about site promoting eating disorders

This guest post provided by Heidi_PsyD from
Facebook and Eating Disorders

Popular social networking site, Facebook has taken swift action, responding this week to concerns about the site’s link to eating disorders in teens. Facebook is working with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to ensure safety on the site, which is frequented by teens and those vulnerable to developing eating disorders. The popular website, which had initially minimized concerns by pointing out logistical difficulties with the study linking it to eating disorders, and emphasizing the supportive aspects of social networking, is now examining steps that it can take to alert users to dangers and flag potentially triggering content.

Concerns about Facebook’s safety initially surfaced following a survey conducted in Israel and that showed that the more time young girls spend on Facebook the more likely they were to develop an eating disorder. Researchers from the University of Haifa concluded that girls who network on Facebook, more than the others, had poor body image and resorted to drastic measures to improve their negative self-image.

The study created a flurry of concern from worried parents who recognized the logistical difficulties of monitoring all of a teen’s online activities, and who had previously thought of Facebook as a way that teens keep in touch with one another.

According to WebPro News, Facebook has partnered with NEDA to make the site safer for those who may be vulnerable to eating disorders or self-harm. Dee Christoff, Vice President, of NEDA says, “We are working with Facebook on the language and processes for warning, reporting and/or removing photos, status, posts and comments that indicate imminent threat or harm, or that are inappropriate and could serve as triggers for eating disorders. Facebook is also developing an FAQ with us about EDs and referring individuals to resources for themselves or someone they may be concerned about.”

Facebook is also encouraging users to report statements, photos or video that is considered to promote eating disorders. Depending on the seriousness of the content, such users may be banned from Facebook. This process would be similar to one that is already in place and that is used to report graphic content, bullying, or suicide promotion.



4 Responses to “Facebook responding to concerns about site promoting eating disorders”
  1. Ashley says:

    This is ridiculous. Are we seriously trying to put partial blame on FACEBOOK for eating disorders!? Facebook has no moral obligation to do this or responsibility for “causing” eating disorderss. That “study” is the most absurd thing I have ever seen.

  2. Sherilyn says:

    I would just like to point out a few things.
    If Facebook causes eating disorders, EVERYTHING causes eating disorders.
    If you’re going to put this policy on FB, how about putting a policy on the media? Oh, while you’re at it, make sure you disappear everyone who doesn’t quite make the 18-21 on the BMI chart, and make sure they don’t have any pictures of themselves until they’re in that “healthy” BMI. Oh, overweight? No-no, can’t have them either – that could be promoting binge eating disorder. Just saying.
    Yeah, I get that there are things on the web that are pro-ana or pro-mia and are unhealthy and so on, but if you look a little deeper – girls don’t look that stuff up unless something’s already going on.
    Maybe if we’d all stop running around wondering what everybody else thinks of us, and turn to the God who made us, some of these problems would disappear?
    Backup on that: I’m a Christian who WAS anorexic. I’m not saying God is going to “fix” everything, I just know I wouldn’t have recovered without my faith in Him. At all. Or, at least, faith in something bigger.
    Facebook doesn’t cause eating disorders. I would bet a lot of money on the fact it’s all those little skinny caucasion models on the side of FB that are causing these girls in other countries to dabble in diets.

    Ughk. Really?

  3. Morgan says:

    Here is an important resource for parents going through this with their children – Give Food A Chance by Dr. Julie O’Toole. Dr. O’Toole founded the Kartini Clinic in Portland OR, a treatment facility that specializes in treating teens and children with ED

  4. .C. says:

    There is no real place on this blog that’s completely appropriate for this link right now, so I’m posting it here – sorry for the not-directly-related comment! Right now the government is deciding whether to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding. This CANNOT happen. So many women and girls – and men and boys, too – need PP for education and help when there is no other place for them to turn for it. It is a huge body image issue – if we cannot take control of our bodies; if we cannot get the knowledge and tools to keep them safe; how can we really have a positive relationship with them? Helping Planned Parenthood is helping our bodies, and respecting them, and therefore is helping and respecting ourselves.

    PLEASE visit this link and sign this open letter to congress. If we get a million people to sign it, hopefully they’ll listen. Tell all of your friends and family members, and help stop this terrible regression away from reproductive rights. Help keep in place an organization that has helped people maintain control over their own bodies for many years. Help us – people, women, everyone.

    visit right now, please.


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