Norway just made it illegal not to declare retouched photos on social media

·2-min read
Photo credit: Tim Robberts - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Robberts - Getty Images

You'd be hard-pushed to find someone who hasn't been affected in some way by the increasingly impossible beauty standards being promoted as the norm on social media. And now, in an effort to reduce the country's levels of body dysmorphia, Norway has made it illegal for influencers to share edited photos of the body in promotional posts on social media.

The Storting (Norway's Parliament) has officially adopted several amendments to the 2009 Marketing Act, which "aim to help reduce body pressure in society due to idealized people in advertising."

The amendments, which were made by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and passed with 72 to 15 votes in government, include a duty "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."

This basically means that if an influencer shares promotional content where alterations have been made to their body shape, size and skin (such as applying filters to enlarge lips, narrow waists and exaggerate muscles), they must ensure the content is marked with a standardised label designed by the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.

Those who violate the new regulations will face fines and potentially, in extreme cases imprisonment.

Photo credit: Artur Debat - Getty Images
Photo credit: Artur Debat - Getty Images

In its proposal to the Norwegian parliament, the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs wrote, "Body pressure is present in the workplace, in the public space, in the home, and in various media.

"Body pressure is always there, often imperceptibly, and is difficult to combat. A requirement for retouched or otherwise manipulated advertising to be marked is one measure against body pressure.

“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."

However, the Ministry also accepts that it may be difficult to enforce these new regulations as it isn't always possible to tell if an image has been edited. They also admitted that influencers may be more tempted to have cosmetic surgery in order to "live up to beauty ideals."

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The move has been positively received by Norwegian influencer Annijor Jørgense, who told newspaper Verdens Gang that, "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."

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