In an effort to address society’s long-held body image issues, Norway has recently introduced a law addressing photo modification and editing…
The new legislation requires content creators to indicate whether a photo has been edited or even if it has a simple filter on it. This further helps combat body dysmorphia that the public may face due to the artificial beauty standards set by social media platforms over the years.
According to the amendments made by the Norweigan Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, advertisements with alterations to a person’s size, form, or skin must be labelled by the Ministry itself. This also includes influencers or celebrities that get any type of funding or benefits from a social media post.
The legislation covers images that are posted on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter. Enforcing a label will make it clearer when a body image is fake, and potentially discourages advertisers and content creators from editing their images in the first place.
As the Ministry explained, ‘The measure will hopefully make a useful and significant contribution to curbing the negative impact that such advertising has, especially on children and young people’.
While this may sound like a great initiative, it can also act as a double-edged sword. Since influencers cannot use filters to alter their appearance for 5 minutes, some might opt for cosmetic surgery in order to meet beauty ideals.
The ministry also acknowledged that it may be difficult to recognize whether an image has been modified or not. Plus, it is still unclear whether lighting or saturation adjustment is considered editing.
Nonetheless, the law was received well by plenty, especially Norway’s influencer community. Some even encouraged for the law to extend to all content. As Anijor Jørgensen shared, ‘Filters [are] something that should be fun, something you can laugh at, or be allowed to have a realistic butterfly on your face. Not to create a false beauty ideal’.
So far, this law only concerns images and photos, but nothing has been clarified regarding videos. TikTok has seen an increase of filters that give the user further unrealistic beauty standards.
While Norway waits for the King to sign the new changes into law, it’s unclear how much of an impact they’ll have on the country’s unattainable beauty standards that pervade social media and advertising.