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Norway Might Jail Influencers for Covertly Edited Photos

By Hannah Claire Brimelow

Instagram influencers who secretly edit their appearances could go to Norwegian jail. 

A new amendment to the country’s Marketing Act requires that advertisers and the influencers they contract with disclose when a photo has been altered to improve a person’s appearance.  

A new label designed by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs will have to be added to advertisement posts that have altered someone’s shape, size or skin,” the New York Post reported. 

The rule does not apply to posts where the influencer is not paid or receiving any type of benefits. 

The United Kingdom introduced similar restrictions to address concerns regarding mental health and deceptive advertising. The nation’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) “that filters should not be used if they exaggerate the effect of a cosmetic or skincare item being sold.” 

Celebrities and influencers who do not comply will have their photos removed and could be banned from the platform. 

Both the UK and Norway cite a desire to reduce unrealistic perfectionism that critics says dominates the platform.   

Advertising restrictions are not new to Instagram. In 2019, “Instagram has announced that it [would] restrict users under the age of 18 from seeing posts that promote select weight-loss products and cosmetic surgery procedures, while the company [would] also ban some types of ads that promote unrealistic ‘get thin quick’ products entirely,” reported Fast Company. 

According to the BBC, “a systematic review of 20 papers published in 2016 found that photo-based activities, like scrolling through Instagram or posting pictures of yourself, were a particular problem when it came to negative thoughts about your body.” 

Some influencers have hailed these regulations as long overdue.  They regard overly edited photos as a major contributor to the inauthentic culture of the platform. Other see the rules as band-aids for a more complex issues plaguing today’s teens. 

To me, it seems more like a shortcut to fix a problem that won’t really do any improvement,” commented Eirin Kristiansen, an influencer and business owner from Norway. “Mental health issues are caused by so much more than an edited photo, and another badge on advertiser’s photos won’t change how young girls and boys truly feel, in my opinion.” 

The monarch of Norway, King Harald V, will decide when his country’s new regulation will take effect. 

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