Instagram bans plastic surgery filters from Spark AR Hub

Instagram, News

Instagram is banning face-altering filters that promote plastic surgery amid a focus on the mental health of its users.

The Facebook-owned app released a tool in August allowing users to create and share their own effects, which are superimposed on to photos and videos.

Instagram has now decided to remove filters associated with plastic surgery as it looks into updating its wellbeing policy.

Some of the augmented reality filters transformed images to make it appear as though the person was undergoing a facelift, with lines drawn across their face, while others depicted fillers and lip injections.

It said any related effects submitted to the Spark AR Hub will no longer be approved and current filters being reported will also be taken down.

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

Senior Instagram executives told MPs in May that the firm would pay closer attention to appearance-changing photo filters over concerns about the impact they may have on people’s body image.

“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, head of product at Instagram, told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The social network has been under increased scrutiny following a number self-harm incidents and suicides, notably Molly Russell, a 14-year-old who took her own life in November 2017 after viewing disturbing material online.

Her family believe harmful content on social media was a contributory factor after finding material relating to depression and suicide on her accounts, and have called for tech firms to be held to account.

Chris Price
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