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Press Room

Statement from Nandita Murukutla, Vice President, Global Policy and Research, Vital Strategies, on Instagram’s rollout of a sensitive content control option

“While a step in the right direction, Instagram allowing users to control sensitive content only scratches the surface of pervasive marketing of harmful products on social platforms. Most unhealthy commodity marketing is designed to appeal—not upset. Leaving it in the hands of consumers to self-censor is misplaced; the onus should be on the industry. Until social media platforms adopt more meaningful reforms, or government steps in with regulation, social channels will become the go-to place for those who peddle junk food, alcohol, tobacco and other unhealthy products. Our health, and the health and lifetime habits of our kids, is on the line.

Today’s online platforms enable purveyors of unhealthy products to spread their messages further and more quickly than in decades past. The explosion of digital and cross-border marketing has made regulation an even greater logistical challenge. Vital Strategies’ recently launched platform TERM—Tobacco Enforcement and Reporting Movement offers a unique monitoring and crowdsourcing feature that includes the public in the battle to hold the tobacco industry accountable, and enables governments and health authorities to identify the extent of tobacco marketing and take measured steps to respond to it.” 

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.