YouTube has announced an update to its policies around content related to eating disorders, which will provide more guidance for at-risk users, while also restricting access to some eating disorder content for younger audiences.
The updates build on YouTube’s existing rules around Harmful or Dangerous content, providing more guidance for eating disorder videos specifically, which is a crucial step in facilitating more protection for users.
As per YouTube:
“Mental health issues like eating disorders can be isolating and stigmatizing for people around the world. YouTube is an important platform for raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders from a variety of perspectives, and we want to empower creators to continue to share their stories.”
YouTube says that it’s worked with experts from the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) and Asociación de Lucha contra la Bulimia y la Anorexia (ALUBA), among others, to develop a comprehensive framework that expands the scope of its Community Guidelines around this element.
In the coming weeks, YouTube will implement new restrictions on videos that depict behavior, which could lead at-risk viewers to imitate.
“This could include videos that show or describe disordered eating behaviors, such as purging after eating or severely restricting calories, or weight-based bullying in the context of eating disorders.”
YouTube will also implement age restrictions on certain content about eating disorders, including clips in which a creator details disordered eating behaviors that they've engaged in. It’s also expanding its crisis resource panels that appear on eating disorder related content.
YouTube has also partnered with NEDA on a new series of video clips to raise awareness of eating disorders and risks, while it’s also working with medical professionals to expand its health product features.
As noted, these updates build on YouTube’s already established rules and policies around eating disorder content, which is a key area for all online platforms to address.
And with research showing that more than 90% of teens now use social platforms to research health information, the importance of this specific element is amplified even further - which is why this is such a critical focus for YouTube.