Stop Targeting Eating Disorders

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My name is Daniel Magson, and I live with Bulimia every day. 

Since my recovery I have started talking about my eating disorder online and through social media. And what I’ve found is shocking. Companies are using my bulimia to sell products to me, I get adverts about so-called ‘body enhancing’ and weight loss apps, weightless supplements, teeth treatment, baldness treatment, 'gain money by losing weight' adverts, body shaping products, and much more. 

Companies are using this technique to deliberately target vulnerable people who search for help online, or speak out about their eating disorders and body image online.

Everytime I speak out about how my eating disorder has affected me I get ads targeted at me to trigger my eating disorder. This is not only morally wrong, it’s dangerous and needs to stop.

My eating disorder is something I live with daily, and we need to safeguard online spaces so people living with eating disorders are not bombarded with this content.

I am calling for the UK Government to step in and ban targeting that relates to eating disorders, body image and mental health in their online advertising. 

Online advertising platforms, such as, Google Ads, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, to follow Twitter’s lead (we did this) and put governance in place to prevent advertisers deliberately or inadvertently targeting those suffering and recovering from eating disorders.

Under section 19 of the Facebook advertising policy, they ban adverts focusing on personal health but allow ‘before and after’ photos if they are zoomed out, and they allow promotion of healthy eating and healthy juices but have no mention of eating disorders, and allow too many loopholes.

Google (inc Youtube) ban adverts that target Physical or mental health conditions, including diseases, sexual health and chronic health conditions, which are health conditions that require long-term care or management. They do not include eating disorders.

Tik Tok prohibit ​Ads promoting weight loss/management fasting products or services. Again no mention of eating disorders. 

All these platforms could add specific bans on content or advertisers of products and services that could harm people affected by eating disorders.

If they are not willing to do so, the government should step in.

Millions of people are affected by eating disorders. Research from Anorexia and Bulimia Care shows that those experiencing an eating disorder are particularly vulnerable to messages about body image and weight and these ads can trigger inappropriate food and weight based beliefs and behaviours.

Because eating disorders carry the highest mortality rate of all mental health conditions, either through suicide or physical health complications.

We need to act now to show that we don’t tolerate any company taking advantage of us online. 

Please help me, sign and share the petition, and post about your examples! Please share your experiences and tag @danieljmagson for shares 



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