Our favorite new Internet timewaster, Pinterest has in recent weeks become a haven for online pro-anorexia and eating disorder communities. Drawn to the site’s image-heavy, community-oriented style, thinsporation posters have recently flooded the site, posting pictures of jutting hips, emaciated models and concave bellies, emblazoned with pro-ana slogans like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” And, most importantly, Pinterest posters can post anonymously, meaning that users can reach out to one another but still feel safe.
But all of that is about to change.
Pinterest just went on record banning content that “creates a risk of harm, loss, physical or mental injury, emotional distress, death, disability, disfigurement, or physical or mental illness to yourself, to any other person, or to any animal.”
It’s unclear what that means for content that’s already been posted to the platform, or how exactly the site plans to screen all the content put up on the site, but the ban is supposed to go into effect on April 6. Last month, Tumblr — which had also become a bastion of pro-ana content online — also developed an official policy toward thinsporation content. The blog platform banned:
“Blogs that glorify or promote anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders; self-mutilation; or suicide. These are messages and points of view that we strongly oppose, and don’t want to be hosting.”
Will Pinterest and Tumblr’s new policies stop pro-ana behavior on the web? Not likely. People interested in sharing pro-eating disorder content on the web will no doubt find a way to continue to do so. The online pro-ana community is a large and thriving group, contained on private websites, message boards and Facebook groups. But it’s a step in the right direction.