Lifestyle & Culture

Instagram Promotes Mental Health By Banning Cosmetic Surgery Filters

None of the user-created augmented reality (AR) filters on Instagram will be allowed to showcase the effects of cosmetic surgery on the body.

30.10.2019 | by Christy Romer
Photo by Igor Rand on Unsplash
Photo by Igor Rand on Unsplash

Social media can be a toxic place, as likely to build a profile and launch a career as to cause depression, loneliness, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.

This is particularly prevalent on Instagram—a place that many influencers use to champion superficiality and convince their followers that ‘beauty’ is attainable through appetite suppressant lollipops, rather than the result of cosmetic surgery, professional trainers and industry-level lighting.

In the pursuit of such ideals, some users have become incapable of sharing photos that have not been tweaked in some way—edits to slim down parts of the body or filters to smooth over natural blemishes.

An update to Instagram in August that allowed users to create their own filters has heightened this process. Two of the most popular creations have been Plastica, which mimicks the effects of extreme plastic surgery, and FixMe, which overlays a cosmetic surgeon’s pen marks onto a person’s face.

There were many that worried about the ease with which impressionable people could test out ‘improving’ or ‘fixing’ themselves through lip injections, fillers and facelifts—so much so that Instagram has just announced that it is banning cosmetic surgery filters.

“We’re re-evaluating our policies—we want our filters to be a positive experience for people,” an Instagram spokesman told the BBC.

“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 creator of AR filter Fix Me said the tech was actually intended as a “critique of plastic surgery,” showing how “unglamorous” the process is with markings and bruisings.

“I can see where Instagram is coming from, but for as long as some of the most-followed accounts on Instagram are of heavily surgically ‘improved’ people, removing surgery filters won’t really change that much,” he added to the BBC.

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