In a digital landscape where social media and health intersect with increasingly visible consequences, Meta‘s Oversight Board has chosen to uphold the company’s decision to retain two posts depicting a Thai woman’s juice-only diet. However, they’ve highlighted the need to reconsider how such content benefits financially from the platform’s monetization policies.
Meta Oversight Board Stance: Monetization of Extreme Diet Content Needs Reassessment
The content in question involves videos posted by an account detailing the life and culture of Thailand, where in a woman speaks of her strict juice diet. The first video describes her physical and psychological improvements since starting the diet, despite initial weight loss and health issues. The second video, coming five months later, continues her story, with claims of youthfulness and further weight loss referred to as “shedding impurities.”
These videos, viewed over two million times and commented on by thousands, brought significant attention to the woman’s Facebook page, which was part of Meta‘s Partner Monetization Program. This means both the content creator and the woman profited from the posts, raising ethical questions given the potential harm of such diets.
Meta’s human reviewers, after reports of the videos, concluded that they did not breach Facebook’s Suicide and Self-Injury Community Standard, thus allowing them to remain on the platform. Appeals to the Oversight Board resulted in a nuanced decision: while the content did not directly violate community standards, it prompted recommendations to Meta to refine its monetization policies to better align with its human rights responsibilities, particularly regarding harmful diet-related content.
The Oversight Board’s recommendations are non-binding but underscore the delicate balance Meta faces between allowing personal expression and preventing the spread of potentially dangerous health information. The Oversight Board suggests that content creators should not be financially incentivized to promote extreme diets that can be harmful, especially to impressionable audiences.
Meta has indicated it will review the board’s suggestions about demonetization, with a spokesperson stating the company will respond to the full recommendations within 60 days.
This move comes amid a larger conversation about the impact of social media on public health, particularly the vulnerability of adolescents to content related to eating disorders. The Oversight Board’s decision, and Meta’s forthcoming review, will likely play a critical role in shaping the future of content monetization and health-related discourse on social media platforms.