Norway passed a law last month to prevent influencers from secretly sharing edited photos. If they use filters or make other digital changes to sponsored posts, they’ll need to make this clear through their channels as well.
The Norwegian government says its plan is to reduce pressure in society caused by “perfect people in advertising”, especially in order to better protect young people. The government’s website carries an unambiguous message: “A law has been passed to indicate retouched or otherwise manipulated advertisements if it means that a person’s body in advertisements differs from reality.”
If Norwegian influencers want to digitally provide themselves with a set of plumper lips, a smaller waist, or even skin in paid posts, they will have to indicate this. This must be done using a poster designed by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs. Norway’s King Harald V has not yet decided when the law will enter into force. It has already been established that anyone who violates this new law can be fined, and may even face imprisonment.
The reactions of local influencers are divided. Influencer Madeleine Pedersen said in an interview with British broadcaster Radio 1 that “the time has come” to pass such a law. “We hope that young people will now stop comparing themselves to unrealistic images.” Norwegian Irene Christiansen sees less than a point. “Mental health problems are caused by a lot more than just a tweaked image. I don’t think tagging advertisers will really change how young girls and boys feel,” she said on the same channel.
What about us? In Belgium, online influencers have since 2018 been asked to indicate it is about advertising in the captions of their messages. The vzw call center has determined that this is possible by using the words ‘advertisement’, ‘advertising’, ‘sponsorship’ or by selecting hashtags such as #adv and #advertising. Violators will not be fined. There is no official law regarding edited photos at this time. Some famous Flemish people point out to their followers that not everything is as it seems on Instagram. Earlier this week, writer Hanne Luyten shared a photo of her leg with and without a Parisfilter from Instagram. “I sometimes use this to brighten an image, but the filter also creates a haze on the skin. I’d better like it if a filter was automatically indicated on the image. You are perfect as you are‘, you read.