Influencers and advertisers in Norway will soon have to label photos that have been retouched, according to new regulations passed as an amendment to the country's Marketing Act last month, Vice reported Tuesday. Norway's king will determine when the new rule will go into effect.
Any ads where someone's shape, size or skin has been altered will have to include a label designed by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs. That includes changes like slimmed waistlines, enlarged lips and exaggerated muscles. Influencers and celebrities who post images from which they "receive any payment or other benefit" will also be subject to the rule. That includes posts on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter. Violators are subject to fines and possibly imprisonment.
The move comes amid mounting concerns over the mental health impact of sites like Instagram, where it can be hard to separate reality from altered images. Advocacy groups and lawmakers have long criticized Instagram and parent Facebook for harboring harmful content and fostering anxiety and depression, particularly among younger audiences. A 2017 report by the UK's Royal Society for Public Health found that Instagram is the worst social media platform for young people's mental health. Reports earlier this year revealed Instagram is planning to launch a platform for kids under 13, stirring up more criticism from child health advocates who are concerned about threats to children's online privacy and their mental well-being.
In response to criticism, Instagram started to test hiding the number of likes posts get around the world in 2019, in an effort to around how "popular" their content is in comparison to others'. In May, both Facebook and Instagram said that they'd give all users the option to from the public and to choose whether they can see like counts on all posts in their feed.