02/28/2013 07:09 pm ET

YouTube Hosts 'Thinspiration' Community, Says Study

YouTube isn't just home to TV show clips, cute kid videos and animal videos. According to new research, it's also yet another online platform inadvertently hosting "thinspiration" content.

Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest have all come under fire over the last year for "thinspo" or "pro-anorexia" content. On other social media platforms, thinspiration generally includes images of extremely thin women and tips on how to sustain weight loss by extreme measures. One Tumblr thinspo blogger told The Huffington Post in August 2012 that she likes to post "images that show skinny, happy girls. They look so confident and we can see their bones through their skin. It's the most beautiful thing ever. I also like tips about food or how to ignore hunger."

When researchers searched YouTube using keywords like "Anorexia," "Anorexia nervosa," "Proana" and "Thinspo," they found 140 videos on the topic, reported dailyRX News. Fifty-six percent of the videos contained informative content about eating disorders, but nearly one-third of them were pro-anorexia. And when they looked at the comments left by users who watched these videos, there were three times as many positive comments on pro-anorexia videos as the others.

According to rxDaily News, the researchers suggested that YouTube develop filters and software to effectively remove unhealthy content. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Tumblr have all enacted policies attempting to ban unhealthy, triggering content from the platforms. These policies have worked to varying degrees. In January, BuzzFeed writer Amy Rose Spiegel investigated each of these platforms, and found that Instagram and Tumblr were still filled with thinspiration content despite each company's public promise to get ride of content that promotes self-harm.

Click over to dailyRX.com to read more.

How do you think that YouTube should address pro-anorexia videos?

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association's toll free, confidential Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.



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