Altering photos is nothing new to almost anyone who uses social media—ordinary people, celebrities, politicians, influencers, they have all done it for aesthetic purposes.
For those who are getting paid to post their society-dictated “aesthetically pleasing” images on social media, it’s a different ballgame.
Recently, legislators in Norway ramped up their fight against the negative impact of unrealistic beauty standards and body image expectations by passing new regulations that require influencers and advertisers to label their retouched photos on social media.
The new regulations, which won in a landslide 72 to 15 voting, were passed as an amendment to Norway’s 2009 Marketing Act. The King of Norway will later decide when the regulations will go in effect.
In passing the amendments, the legislators aim to “help reduce body pressure in society due to idealized people in advertising.”
Under the new regulations, advertisements that use alterations in images of bodies—may it be their shape, size, skin, even a filter—will need to be marked with a standardized label designed by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.
Also included in the regulation are influencers and celebrities who receive “payments or other benefits” for a social media post in all platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
Though the regulations did not say which specific types of retouching must be labeled, Vice News reported that manipulations that require labeling include enlarged lips, removed blemishes, narrowed waistlines and altered muscles and body proportions.
Those who violate the regulations may face escalating fines, and in extreme cases, they could face imprisonment.
The ministry, however, recognizes that it may be difficult to enforce the law since one cannot always easily tell when an image has been altered.
Also needed to be cleared with the new regulations is whether adjustments in brightness or saturation in photos are considered a violation.
Meanwhile, Norway’s influencer community has reportedly supported the regulation, according to newspaper Verdens Gang. “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,” influencer Annijor Jorgensen told the newspaper.
The ministry is hopeful that the new regulations will be helpful in continuing cultural discussion about the effects of unrealistic and impossible beauty standards.
“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,” the ministry said in a statement.