Can an influencer be punished for retouching her photos? In Norway they are clear about it
A law has recently been passed in Norway stating that brands and influencers have to warn if their posts on social media are retouched.
Norway bans influencers from retouching their photos
Norwegian influencers must from now on warn on their photos when a photo has been retouched as long as the post is part of an advertising campaign. That is, when the influencer is being paid for posting such content on their social media.
This includes digital aesthetic retouching such as lip augmentation or reduction of certain body areas, as well as the use of filters and modifications in luminosity that may alter the imperfections in the skin, creating an effect far from reality. For example, they should indicate “blemishes removed”, “waist narrowed”. Similarly, if influencers working on behalf of a brand have altered reality in any way, this should be stated following the same procedure.
In relation to the issues of increasing or decreasing saturation and brightness they have not been as specific, so some confusion has arisen in this regard. This is something that will have to be established in the future to specify whether there are certain ways of editing photos, because for now this type of physical modification should not be legally traceable.
Fines for those who publish edited photos without warning
This approach to the ethical and responsible use of social media is being taken in order to control the unrealistic standards of beauty that influencers can focus on users, especially among young people.
This is why the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality foresees sanctions involving significant fines for influencers who do not use the label designed by the government to notify when an image has been modified in lucrative publications.
In addition, this law will not only apply to influencers who develop their activity through social networks such as Instagram, it is also aimed at magazines or any other press media, whether analogue or digital, that retouch the images of models or influencers in these media and advertising spaces.
#Filterdrop and similar measures in other countries
Norway has not been the first country to promote these measures. Last February, a campaign was launched in the UK by an influential make-up artist and model using the hashtag #Filterdrop.
The hashtag was intended to denounce brands and models who used filters as a tool to reach a wider market and to sell their products. Thanks to this movement through the networks, the British authority in charge of advertising self-control banned the use of beauty filters by influencers and the brands they sponsor.
Meanwhile, in France, since 2017, fashion brands and related sectors have been obliged to indicate the use of Photoshop in their content. And in response to this movement, companies such as “Getty Images” came out in favour of #Filterdrop by eliminating from their database all photographs of models that had been retouched previously.
What about Spain?
Spain does not specify in its legislation the regulation of the use of filters and photo retouching in content publications. In general terms, Law 34/1988, of 11 November 1988, General Advertising Law, through its article 3 b), which states that advertising will be illegal if it incites minors to purchase a good or service, is the only one that could be compared in terms of the will of minors with regard to promotional actions that may negatively affect them.
However, our legislation does not consider regulating possible ethical conflicts with regard to standards of beauty or similar in advertising on social networks. It remains to be seen how Spain will incorporate this movement into its legal system on misleading advertising.
Letslaw es una firma de abogados internacionales especializada en el derecho de los negocios.