This week, Kardashian posted a photo of her sucking on a red lollipop to Instagram. The caption, which included the requisite ad hashtag, promoted a new product from the Flat Tummy Co called Appetite Suppressant Lollipops, which Kardashian called “literally unreal” before alerting followers to a special deal. People quickly called her out for promoting an appetite suppressant, especially to a young, female fanbase that might already be struggling with body-image issues, labeling the ad “irresponsible” and “shameful.” The Good Place‘s Jameela Jamil called her a “terrible and toxic influence on young girls.” The post was later deleted.
However, Insider points out that the ad was allegedly posted and deleted twice, and that Instagram, not Kardashian, deleted it for violating Community Guidelines.
I think everyone thinks Kim Kardashian deleted the post herself but appears we’ve give her too much credit 😂 Instagram keeps on removing it for promoting eat disorders 🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/4VU4oHwM1h— Laura (@foxandelephant) May 16, 2018
Laura Jane Hicks confirmed that she was one of the people who reported it, and received a notice that it was taken down about 30 minutes later. In 2016, Instagram introduced a new feature for reporting self-harm, and that includes posts promoting eating disorders. The company has struggled to combat the proliferation of pro-eating disorder communities in the past.
Celebrities promoting diet products has become a cottage industry on Instagram, but that industry is not always well-regulated. Flat Tummy Co. pays many celebrities to promote its diet products, and actively markets them to women, but it’s also been called out for false advertising. Last year, Geordie Shore‘s Sophie Kasaei was ordered to delete an Instagram post promoting a Flat Tummy tea, after the Advertising Standards Authority claimed it was misleading as a weight-loss product.
The lollipops allegedly feature satiereal, “a clinically proven safe active ingredient extracted from natural plants,” according to the company’s website. The product information, however, states that Flat Tummy’s claims “have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.”
We’ve reached out to Instagram for comment.
Update 9:04am CT, May 17: An Instagram spokesperson told the Daily Dot: “We mistakenly removed content we shouldn’t have and apologized to Kim for the inconvenience caused. We worked quickly to rectify the mistake as soon as we were made aware. The post has now been restored.”
For more information about eating disorders or to speak with a someone confidentially, contact the National Eating Disorders Organization.