Instagram and parent company Facebook will block the promotion of “conversion therapy”, which tries to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity, the social media firm has told the BBC.
Campaigners are urging the government to act now on a two-year-old promise to make the practice illegal.
This year, 200,000 people have signed an online petition calling for action.
All major UK therapy professional bodies and the NHS oppose it on logical, ethical and moral grounds.
In 2018, the government announced that “gay conversion therapies” were to be banned as part of a government plan to improve the lives of gay and transgender people, but activists are still waiting for action. The government has since said it will “consider all options for ending the practice”.
The new president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James, said: “Any intervention purporting to ‘treat’ something which is not a disorder is wholly unethical and should be banned.”
Speaking exclusively to the BBC, Tara Hopkins, EMEA public policy director, Instagram, said the company is changing the way it handles conversion therapy content.
“We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services.”