New Norwegian law requiring influencers and advertisers to report that their images have been altered.
In an effort to combat unrealistic beauty standards and the mental health effects they have on young audiences, the Norwegian government is making it illegal for influencers and advertisers to post retouched images without proper labeling.
The new regulation was introduced in Parliament by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and became law a few days ago. The decision as to when it will come into force is now in the hands of the King of Norway.
The law affects influencers and advertisers as well as publishers who make money from content that has been altered by retouching body size, shape, skin color, filters or post-processing. Some advocacy groups also suggest that the law should apply to all social media postings. According to the Norwegian daily newspaper Verdens Gang, a number of influential people in Norway are pushing for the law to apply to all retouched photos.
Images that have been retouched will be required by law to contain government-designed markings warning viewers. Those who fail to properly label their retouched advertising materials would face fines and even jail time.
In proposed amendments to the 2009 Marketing Act, the ministry stated, “We hope that this measure will make a useful and significant contribution to limiting the negative impact that such advertising has, especially on children and young people.”
Mental health issues caused by unrealistic beauty standards promoted on social media have been discussed for quite some time.
In 2017, we saw Getty Images ban the use of retouched models in its database, how France legislated against undisclosed retouching in advertisements, and the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK released a report on how Instagram is detrimental to young people’s mental health.
According to a recent study by the UK Parliament, more than a third of adults feel anxious or depressed about their body image, and 44% of them would like to see more diversity in mainstream media.
The Mental Health Foundation recently reported that 40% of LGBTQ+ adults are ashamed of their body image, and the mental well-being of 80% of people with disabilities is directly related to their body image, according to a survey conducted by Trailblazers.