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06th Jul 2021

Influencers divided on Norway’s new law on photo editing

Charlie Herbert

Influencers will now have to put disclaimers on posts that they have modified or put a filter on.

Social media influencers in Norway have been reacting to the new law introduced by the government there which will mean they can’t post modified photos without declaring what they’ve done.

The new laws were passed as an amendment to Norway’s Marketing Act. The Norwegian government website says that the aim of the new rules is to reduce pressure in society due to “idealised people in advertising.”

The website says: “Among other things, a duty is introduced to mark retouched or otherwise manipulated advertising when this means that the person’s body in the advertisements deviates from reality in terms of body shape, size and skin.”

The law will apply to platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat and affects anyone who posts paid promotion on social media. This includes influencers, actors and singers.

Madeleine Pedersen, an influencer from Norway, told the BBC that it’s “about time” this sort of law was brought in.

She said: “There are so many people that are insecure about their body or face.

“I have struggled with body issues because of Instagram, back in the day.

“The worst part is that I don’t even know if the other girls I looked up to did edit their photos or not. That’s why we all need answers – we need this law.”

She added that she thinks the law will now make influencers less likely to edit their pictures.

However, Eirin Kristiansen, another influencer from the country, said that she thinks the law is “not very well thought out.”

The 26-year-old told BBC Newsbeat: “To me, it seems more like a shortcut to fix a problem that won’t really do any improvement.

“Mental health issues are caused by so much more than an edited photo, and another badge on advertiser’s photos won’t change how young girls and boys truly feel, in my opinion.”

A study by UK MPs last year found that most under-18s said social media images were “extremely influential” on their body image, with only 5% saying that they wouldn’t consider changing their appearance by doing things like dieting or having surgery.

Em Clarkson, an influencer from London, said that it was important to be selective about what we see on social media.

She now posts unedited pictures, but admits that when she was 16 she “downloaded Photoshop and learnt how to Photoshop myself so I could upload this bikini picture of me to Facebook.”

She said: “I know that if these [editing] apps had existed when I was as unhappy in my body as I was then, I would 100% be using them.”