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Image / Editorial

Instagram bans filters with ‘plastic surgery’ effects to improve mental wellbeing


By Jennifer McShane
24th Oct 2019
Instagram bans filters with ‘plastic surgery’ effects to improve mental wellbeing

With reports suggesting that young people are opting for plastic surgery “to appear like the filtered versions of themselves,” the announcement of the ban of subsequent Instagram filters couldn’t have come at a better time  


We all love a good Instagram filter. They can be fun; we use and enjoy them daily, knowing that we don’t quite wake up like that, but it’s part and parcel of social media. The danger starts when the lines blur between, say, the hyper-filtered yet beautiful photos of Kylie Jenner (and her trademark lip fillers) to young girls asking cosmetic surgeons to emulate what they believe the filter masks – and also adds – to their facial features.

Poreless skin? We all want it, but no matter what, someone up that close is going to see them. Wrinkles? They are a sign of a life well-lived and eventually, we all get them. The cheekbones you always wanted? Not possible – unless you use a filter.

Related: The psychology of Instagram and why hiding ‘likes’ may just have changed everything

In fact, this filter can give you it all: poreless, wrinkle-free skin with amazing cheekbones. The problem is that many impressionable young people think it’s the norm to look like a filtered effect or feel inadequate because they don’t.

 

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To that end, Instagram has removed plastic surgery filters in a bid to improve the mental health of its users.

Augmented reality filters that make users look like they have had plastic surgery will be banned, according to the social media giant. The Facebook-owned app released a tool in August that allowed users to create and share their own effects, which are superimposed onto photos and videos.

Related: Posting your self-care routine on Instagram is not self-care

Some effects include facelifts, with lines drawn across their face, fillers and lip injections.

A Facebook company spokesperson said:

“We’re re-evaluating our policies – we want filters to be a positive experience for people.” 

They added that while they were re-evaluating, they would, “remove all effects from the gallery associated with plastic surgery; stop further approval of new effects like this; and remove current effects if they’re reported to us.”

Selfie dysmorphia

 

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The phenomenon of people requesting procedures to resemble their digital image has been referred to as “Snapchat or selfie dysmorphia.” The term was coined by the cosmetic doctor Tijion Esho, founder of the Esho clinics in London and Newcastle. He explained had noticed that where patients had once brought in pictures of celebrities with their ideal nose or jaw, they were now pointing to photos of themselves.

Related: The Irish Instagrammers making beauty look good

This is the second time in recent days that the social media giant has had to play a more active role in filtering out (pun intended) potentially damaging brand promotion to its users; it was recently reported that advertisements for weight loss brands featured on Instagram accounts had been banned after being deemed irresponsible.

There’s no official word yet when the rollout for the filter ban will happen, but reports suggest it’s imminent.

Main photograph: Pexels


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