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Labels on Edited Photo on Social Media: Here’s how Norway plans to address Body Image Issue

social media influencers

With the emergence of new media and the rising popularity of social media,  social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers with millions of people following them increased manifold.  These social media influencers swayed the internet. The influencers seem to be flawless, from perfect clothes, perfect bodies to a perfect lifestyle. 

Social media platforms are used by every age group and gender, the youth looks up to them and wishes to be like them. This does not pose a problem till the time the online and offline lives get blurred and their followers in hope of becoming “perfect” like them begin to take extreme measures like following extreme diets or plastic surgeries. One thing that the youth has failed to acknowledge is that most of these influencer’s pictures are edited, filtered, including their skin colour and body proportions. After knowing how these influencers keep everything perfect in their pictures people started using editing apps and Photoshop to create a specific image of themselves on social media which doesn’t really exist.

While a lot of countries don’t acknowledge this issue, the government of Norway came forward and made it illegal to not label retouched or edited pictures on social media.

WHAT DOES THE NEW NORWAY LAW SAYS?

According to the government of Norway, social media influencers who are Norwegian will have to admit and inform their followers if the photo they posted is edited or not. It is an effort to restrain body image issues in the country. The content creators will now have to reveal even if they used filters in their pictures.

Any photo where “a body’s shape, size or skin has been changed by retouching or other manipulation” must be marked as edited according to the legislation of Norway. This law was passed last month in Norway’s Parliament which is applied to every celebrity or an influencer with a bigger following on social media and “receive any payment or other benefit”. The creators will face intense fines and in any extreme cases potentially facing imprisonment if they violate the law in any way.

These amendments were made by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and passed with a significant 72 to 15 votes in the government. The rules under this amendment will be followed by advertisement agencies as well. The law may be difficult to enforce since it’s not always easy to tell if the image is edited or not but there is hope that enforcement of a label will create more clarity about where a body image being presented is not real.

The ministry said in the statement that “Body pressure is always there, often imperceptibly, and is difficult to combat”. “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 added.

The Norwegian Ministry of Children and family said “editing photos plays into social insecurity, bad conscience, low self-esteem” and “contributes to body pressure.” The law also emphasizes how these unrealistic body standards contribute to the image of how women are portrayed in society and their insecurities.

WHAT ARE THE VIEWS OF PEOPLE ON THE AMENDMENT?

Influencer Annijor Jorgensen said, “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”.

A lot of Norwegian influencers are supporting the law by requesting it to go further and be extended to all content. Some said “it is a radical move, but completely necessary for our modern society” or “Kids nowadays need to know these standards are not reachable unless with photoshop”

Influencers like “Chamellow”, “Zoieakhtar”, “Vardhan puri” and “Tajariley” also supported the law.

The law needs to be approved by the King of Norway before it is enacted and Norway is waiting for confirmation.

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