An update to Instagram in August allowed users to create their own “virtual effects”, like animations and custom filters that could be applied to their images and videos. Some popular filters simulated the effects of plastic surgery. Effects such as lip injections, facelifts and complete facial structural changes. Research has shown that such effects make people feel worse about the way they look.
The company that creates the filters, Spark AR Creators, released a statement saying that they are “removing all effects associated with plastic surgery from the Instagram Effect Gallery“. They say that they “are re-evaluating our existing policies as they relate to well-being”.
A number of effects, such as Plastica, mimicked the effects of extreme plastic surgery, while others like FixMe showed how a cosmetic surgeon would mark a person’s face prior to a procedure. FixMe’s creator, Daniel Mooney, told the BBC that “FixMe was only ever supposed to be a critique of plastic surgery, showing how unglamorous the process is with the markings and bruising”, although users were using it and other filters to show off their plans and “goals” for future surgeries.
Spark AR says they’re unable to provide a timetable on when the new policy will roll out, but that they’d share updates as soon as they can.
I think that body image is a really important topic, broadly speaking, not just on Instagram, and this is something that we are taking really seriously, especially in some of the research we are doing.
– Vishal Shah, Instagram, VP of Product
Spark AR didn’t create the filters itself, but it did approve them to be used by its 1billion+ users on Instagram Stories. The ban is part of Instagram’s crackdown on content related to dieting, detoxes and cosmetic surgery.
I guess there are some filters which are just too much, even for Instagram.
Have you used the “cosmetic surgery” effects in your Instagram selfies?