Pinterest announces AI tool to increase the platform’s body representation


Melinda Petrunoff: “We believe in building a more inspired internet for everyone”

Pinterest has announced the introduction of its latest inclusive AI innovation, focusing on showcasing every body type through technology. The technology uses shape, size, and form to identify various body types in over 5 billion images on the platform, and then uses that information to increase representation across related feeds and search results. The main focus areas will be women’s fashion and wedding-related content.

The tool was inspired by both user behaviour and discussion around body representation. Pinterest users are increasingly searching for body representation, with searches like “Mum summer outfits curvy” up 47x, “concert looks plus size” up 6x, and  “plus size bridal dresses” up 5x, year over year.

The technology is currently live in Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK, Ireland, and Canada, and is set to roll out to other international markets. 

To create the tool, Pinterest’s Inclusive Product Team partnered with experts – both inside and outside of Pinterest – to develop a body type technology that uses shape, sizes, and form to identify body types in images. The platform has then used this data to shape its algorithms to present users with a diverse range of both body types and skin tones. For example, if a user searches for date night outfit inspiration, they will see results inclusive of various body types and skin tone ranges. 

Melinda Petrunoff, country manager, Pinterst ANZ said “We believe in building a more inspired internet for everyone and that begins with creating features that enable users to feel included. With the powerful addition of body type technology to our suite of inclusive AI efforts, we have improved representation of different body types on the platform for our global users, including Australia. Pinterest is at the forefront of creating innovative inclusive products, helping our advertisers show up in a more positive environment to drive impact at every stage of the purchase funnel.”

See Also: IMAA Female Leaders of Tomorrow: Pinterest’s Melinda Petrunoff

Sabrina Ellis, Pinterest’s chief product officer said “At Pinterest, we believe that inspiration begins with inclusion. That’s why we continue to develop inclusive product experiences that make it easier to find the best ideas that feel made for you. With the powerful addition of our new body type technology to our suite of inclusive AI efforts, we have improved representation of different body types on the platform by 5x across women’s fashion related searches in the US.” 

Pinterest size inclusivity

Partnering with experts

This is not the first time that Pinterest has worked with external experts when creating new technology. Over the last 12 months, Pinterest has partnered with the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA), model and size advocate Tess Holliday, and Pinterest Creators Natalie Craig, Kellie Brown, and Stefany Brito to consult on the need of the plus size community. 

The feedback and insights of these experts and creators were a major piece of the puzzle in shaping the product development stage of Pinterest’s body type technology.

Tigress Osborn, Chair of NAAFA, said “At NAAFA, we’ve worked for over 50 years to protect the rights of fat people and to improve quality of life for people with bigger bodies. Through this work, we know that social media spaces can be especially hard for larger people. Trolls are relentless – especially to fat women who dare to wear anything other than baggy black clothing – but Pinterest has always been safer and more welcoming than many other online spaces. Working with Pinterest to ensure that larger bodies are shown in search results signals to users of all sizes that everybody and every body deserves to be included and inspired. We hope our work with Pinterest will inspire other companies to join the movement as well.” 

Tess Holliday, founder, activist, and model said “The presence of authentic representation on a platform, without having to add size or shape modifiers to get what you want, has never been more important to the emotional well-being of young people globally. I am immensely grateful to have been part of Pinterest’s journey to shine a light on plus-size individuals and show everyone else that genuine change is possible.” 

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