Representational image (Wikimedia)
Norway amended its Marketing Act law to make it illegal for influencers and advertisers to share promotional photos on social media platforms without disclosing if the images were edited.
It requires social media influencers to disclose about the retouches made to an image after it was taken or while it was taken (when using Snapchat or Instagram filters that can alter one’s facial features completely).
According to the Norway government’s website, this move aims at reducing pressure due to “idealised people in advertising” who set unreal and untenable standards of beauty. Labelling posts, they believe, will help “reduce body pressure” on young social media users.
The Norway government website states: “Among other things, a duty is introduced to mark retouched or otherwise manipulated advertising when this means that the person's body in the advertisements deviates from reality in terms of body shape, size, and skin.”
The new law will cover all persons posting a paid promotion on social media, which includes not only bloggers and influencers but actors and singers too.
But will this disclaimer really go a long way in helping improve users’ self-esteem? Here’s what some influencers have to say:
A BBC report quoted Nordic Instagram influencer Madeleine Pedersen, 26, as saying: “We need this law”. As per the report, she told Radio 1 Newsbeat that it is “about time” to change the rules and said she hopes the new law will stop the youth from comparing themselves with unrealistic images.
“There are so many people who are insecure about their body or face”, she said, adding: “I have struggled with body issues because of Instagram, back in the day. The worst part is that I do not even know if the other girls I looked up to did edit their photos or not. That is why we all need answers -- we need this law.”
While Madeline also changes the “light, colours and sharpness to get a better vibe”, she said she would never use an app to modify the way her face or body looks.
Echoing her thoughts, another Norwegian influencer -- Eirin Kristiansen, 26 -- said the law is a “step in the right direction”. However, she had her reservations about it as she believes it is “not very well thought out”.
Eirin said: “To me, it seems more like a shortcut to fix a problem that won't really do any improvement. 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.”
English influencer Em Clarkson, who posts unedited pictures and speaks about how filters and editing applications hamper self-love, said: “There has to be some base of which we agree to act responsibly, and I think [Norway's law] is a really good start. We cannot tell people to stop editing their images, that is not feasible. But to say to them, ‘if you’re going to do it, you need to be honest’ -- that is great.”