TikTok to start cracking down on weight loss ads

Users under 18 won't be served weight loss ads under the new policies.

Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
Rae Hodge

TitTok won't serve up weight loss ads to users under 18 any more. 

Angela Lang/CNET

TikTok will implement a new policy cracking down on advertisements for dietary fasting and weight loss supplements, the company said Wednesday. While the new policies don't altogether ban ads for weight loss products, they limit the scope and restrict certain messaging in the ads. 

The move comes just weeks after a cybersecurity report  found scammers were purchasing ads on TikTok, the popular short-video app, to promote fake mobile apps , diet pills and other bogus products and services.

"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," TikTok Safety Policy Manager Tara Wadhwa said in a Wednesday statement. 

The new policies will bar weight management product ads from reaching users under the age of 18, and limit what the company calls "irresponsible claims" made by products promoting weight control.  TikTok also said ads promoting weight loss products or services will be barred from promoting "a negative body image or negative relationship with food," and that overall stronger restrictions will be applied to an ad's implied weight loss claims. 

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