I FULLY accept that I am not the target market for Bootea and its 14-day detox product, having long since abandoned the delusion that a herbal tea can take four inches off my midriff. But I suspect there are still many thousands of people out there who can testify to the shrinking properties of the magic leaves, and so I’ll bow to your herbal inclinations whilst I wolf down another bacon roll.

Bootea and the weight loss product Boombod are at the centre of an increasingly divisive war about social media and celebrity endorsement. On the one hand are the growing armies of libertarianism who resent the nanny state patronising young people and on the other the citadels of the concerned, doctors, dieticians and health experts who see new-media finding more ways of conning people into buying worthless or potentially damaging products.

More than 40 billion photos and videos have been shared on the Instagram platform since its inception. With more than 800 million monthly active users, 80% of whom live outside the United States, Instagram has a global reach and remarkable penetration into the lives of young people.

It is a place where glamour, celebrity and fantasy images thrive. Take for example the hashtag Scotland – there are more than 15m images, the vast majority of which are of castles set romantically in the Photoshopped gloaming, in a land where we live but rarely roam. Even the word “bawbag” has over 4000 posts, mostly vernacular comment on the current US presidency.

Instagram’s fantasy factory is owned by Facebook and therein lies a social media contradiction of sorts – Instagram brands itself as a fun place, often in contradistinction to the more mired, divisive and at times ugly places that we have come to associate with Facebook and Twitter.

READ MORE: How Scots are being targeted on social media

Instagram was pioneered by tech brats Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who have since sold up and left their playground in the sticky hands of Mark Zukerberg and his corporate strategists. That shift of ownership and control has one obvious outcome – Instagram, like Facebook before it, will shirk all the social and regulatory responsibilities of being a media publisher and claim that they are a neutral platform on to which users post and project mostly alluring imagery.

It’s an argument that is being pursued by courts around the world but that is cold comfort to a mother if her child is self-harming and returns daily to Instagram posts that she and her peer-group have published. This week Instagram’s media boss Adam Mosseri announced that all graphic images of self-harm will be removed from the site, after the father of 14-year-old Molly Russell, who took her own life in 2017, said Instagram had “helped kill” his daughter.

Mosseri has since admitted feeling troubled by the father’s remarks and no one can reasonably doubt that the sad events have pricked his conscience.

It is a breakthrough moment and has come, we are led to believe, by managerial soul searching.

I have no doubt that most decent people would shrink in the face of accusations that they have played a role in the death of a child but my argument is not with Mosseri or any of his staff. It is with the consistent failures of regulation that apply to new media – it should not take the death of a young teenager to shift behaviour.

There is another important issue at stake too – fairness. If the Instagram images that played such a malign part in Molly Russell’s death had been part of a sequence in, say, a Channel 4 documentary, it would have been a very serious matter and the regulator Ofcom would have been over the issue like a rash.

Channel 4 would have been censured, hit with instructions to apologise on air, probably required to commission a “balancing” programme and in extremis even fined for editorial failings.

Viewers have recourse too. They can complain to the station and to the regulator.

In the case of Instagram or Twitter then you can whistle at the wind. They are simply not listening.

But maybe, just maybe, the balance of rights and responsibilities is shifting. You may have heard of the Fyre Festival, an exclusive music festival for the easily deluded.

It promised the fantasy weekend to those whose lives were mired in normality – it was supposed to take place in Pablo Escobar’s private island in the Bahamas, with rock and raps stars, glamorous models and fountains of alcohol. Those that paid a premium could live on a luxury yacht off-shore.

To promote the event, the organisers, – the scamartist Billy McFarland and the irritating rap icon Ja Rule – launched it with a short and deceptive video using Instagram as their platform of choice. Billed as “the cultural experience of the decade,” with tickets ranging from $1500-$100,000, Fyre Festival generated much of its interest thanks to being promoted by models such as Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid and Elsa Hosk on Instagram.

It was through their social reach that many millions of people became aware of the festival, and the unlucky ones who signed up mostly lost their shirts.

McFarland was eventually jailed for six years and the supermodels lost a little bit of credibility, although not enough to smear their lip gloss. It was only when Netflix streamed a documentary on the Fyre Festival scandal that the deceptive role of Instagram and its many social media mavens really kicked in.

The documentary opened the floodgates to the rights and wrongs of celebrity endorsement online, especially on Instagram.

In January, the government’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it had told high-profile celebrities – including models Alexa Chung, musician Rita Ora and YouTube star Zoella – that they needed to be more transparent about their social media posts and declare if they’d been paid to endorse a product or had received it as a gift.

There can be no doubt that Instagram’s troubled boss Adam Mosseri is cut from a different moral cloth that the Fyre Festival scamster Billy McFarland but they do share one thing in common: they are part of a generation of web entrepreneurs that have drunk the kool-aid of the dot-com era and believe that new media and the wealth it can create are a special case.

When it comes to regulation they pour millions into defending their business and deflecting attention and in essence believe that digital media should float free from the normal regulatory constraints.

However you dress this up, whether with cool geek language ior with algorithmic magic, it is the ideology of free market capitalism where profit comes before morality.

Instagram and their owners Facebook recoil from any suggestion that they are publishers of content and see themselves as a shimmering surface on to which people post their dreams and discussions.

No one doubts that the user has a much greater role to play in the new media than in the film and television era, but that does not resolve the platforms of their responsibilities.