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Social Media

01st Jul 2021

It’s now illegal in Norway to not label edited photos on social media

Kieran Galpin

Norway’s social media crackdown!

New legislation in Norway is finally addressing the idea of fabrication and editing on social media. By altering the 2009 Marketing Act, Norway has now made it illegal for influencers to share edited photos without stating explicitly that it has been altered. This change is hoping to address boy dysmorphia in the country.

According to the amendments made by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, the vote was passed with a staggering 72 to 15 majority. A government-produced label will be produced and has to be inputted on photos that alter the real body of someone, edit the skin, and enhance features. However, this change also applies to anyone using a filter, which is pretty much everyone on the planet upon inspection. But is this new rule changed really best applied to everyone? or just the Kim Kardashian’s of the world?

The general idea behind the rule change highlights that the ‘perfect’ people we see on Instagram are really not that perfect. From blurred poreless skin to a lack of stretch marks and scars, edited pictures have become almost an alternative reality. Users have the image they provide to the world and then the real person behind it. But the instant gratification on the falsified image only reinforces the idea that the real you is not good enough.

However, i.D says there are concerns around the legislation. Do these new rules apply to altering lighting, the contrast of an image, or something as simple as turning something black and white? After all, it is self-explanatory that black and white images are not real captures on everyone’s iPhone’s.

In local publication Verdens Gangchange has received a great response. “Filters [are] something that should be fun, something you can laugh at, or be allowed to have a realistic butterfly on your face. Not to create a false beauty ideal,” said influencer Annijor Jørgensen.

This new rule only applies to accounts based in Norway, which is tiny compared to the amount of published content. However, it is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, other countries could follow suit, creating a worldwide net of honesty around the facade that is social media.

But amongst the excitement of the proposal, there is a concern over the policing of policies such as these. As privately-owned companies, social networks cannot be policed in the same way as everyday crimes. Alternatively, if the government was in charge of social media, you risk censorship and a world resembling something from a dystopian novel.

The course of action is unclear, but the message is there. People call for a more honest depiction of humanity on social media, not a highly edited flash of ‘reality’.