That’s why we’re applauding Instagram for announcing it’s removing all augmented reality (AR) filters that depict or promote cosmetic surgery in a move to stop detrimental effects to people’s mental health.
Social media allows users to practically overhaul their appearance courtesy of its augmented reality filters. In one swift swipe, we can add a plumper pout, higher cheekbones and replace blemished skin with a flawless filter. And in one swift swipe, we can simultaneously mutilate our self-esteem.
‘Airbrushing’ filters can give people a glimpse into what fillers or Botox could do to their faces and it’s sparking a rise in people seeking cosmetic surgery to emulate the look that social media filters create. “Patients used to bring in images of celebrities as a reference; now more and more patients show us airbrushed and retouched pictures of themselves as a guide to how they want to look,” says Dr Jean-Louis Sebagh, a world-renowned cosmetic doctor with a clinic in London.
Filters that make it looks like the user has had lip fillers, a facelift or other cosmetic surgery treatments have been banned.
“We’re re-evaluating our policies – we want our filters to be a positive experience for people,” a spokesman said.
“While we’re re-evaluating our policies, we will remove all effects from the [effects] gallery associated with plastic surgery, stop further approval of new effects like this and remove current effects if they’re reported to us.”
The ban comes at the same time Instagram rolled out an anti-bullying sticker that people can add to their stories, as well as a pilot scheme to hide likes.
We’re impressed that Instagram is making some serious changes for the sake of people’s mental health and we hope other platforms follow suit.