Designing for Disorder

Our report analyzes a pro-eating disorder “bubble” on the app consisting of 153 popular accounts that celebrate “thinspiration” or “bonespiration,” and the 90,000 users that follow three or more of these accounts. The accounts post content such as positive imagery of extremely underweight people or other eating disorder memes. Most distressingly, our report revealed that 33.75% of the accounts in this bubble are underage.

Analysis of underage accounts in this pro-eating disorder bubble uncovered users who openly identified themselves as 11 and 12 years-old (despite Instagram’s claims that the platform is only for users 13 and older) and posted such disturbing messages as “I hate food, [anorexia] lives inside my head” and “starving for perfection.”