Norway’s New Law States Influencers Must Disclose Photo Edits
New laws in Norway mean that content creators who retouch pictures on their social media must state when a change has been made. While a previous law covers general marketing, changes in how social media uses images to sell products require an update in marketing laws. The legislation, which won by a 72-15 vote, requires content creators to disclose when they retouch or add a filter to a photo. Given the rise of influence that content creators have, the laws are seen as a welcome change, by activists and individuals alike.
New Retouching Laws in Norway
Yahoo News reports that the law will apply to influencers and advertisers alike, to address ‘body pressure in society.’ Of course, it’s no secret that body shaming has become a major concern. Especially with the rise of filters and basic photoshop skills. After garnering overwhelming support in parliament, the law will go into effect when directed by Harald V, the current King of Norway.
For years, Youth advocacy groups and Norway’s Ministry of Children and Family Affairs have been calling for stricter measures on image editing. Particularly amid increasing concerns surrounding body image issues. As well as mental health and low self-esteem problems. Especially among Norway’s youths.
70,000 Children and Young People Have Mental Health Issues in Norway
According to the legal proposal, it’s stated that approximately 70,000 children and young people have mental health issues requiring treatment. Given that the nation has a populace of just under 5.4 million, that’s a significant percentage. Indeed, the proposal says that over 50% of 10th-grade girls in the Oslo School have mental health problems. Sitting along the top of the list is anorexia, as the third most common cause of death among young girls.
In a translation, the bill writes, “Body pressure is pointed out as one of the most important reasons why many young people struggle mentally. Young people are exposed to massive pressure to look good through, among other things, advertising and social media. And the models that are shown are often digitally retouched. This exposes young people to an ideal of beauty that is impossible to achieve.” Furthermore, the ‘advertising industry’ is cited as one of the key reasons for increasing body pressure. Or, rather, ‘kroppspress‘ as the increasing public discourse in Norway refers to it.
Some Influencers Welcome the Change in Law
Surprisingly, influencers appear to be happy with the changes. Speaking to the BBC, Instagram influencer Madeleine Pederson (from Moss in Norway) states that it’s “about time” the rules were put into effect. And that she hopes the law will stop young people from comparing themselves to unrealistic images. “There are so many people that are insecure about their body or face,” she says.
“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.”
The Law Itself is an Amendment to the Existing 2009 Marketing Act
The law will require advertising and sponsored posts where a body’s shape, size, or skin has been changed through photo manipulation. These laws include a clause that involves a filter. Similarly, retouching needs to be marked with a label created by the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs. Any influencers who fail to comply will receive escalating fines – and possibly even imprisonment in very extreme cases.
Per Vice, examples of manipulation that will require a label include enlarging lips, exaggerating muscles, and narrowing waists. It remains unclear if adjustments that impact exposure, brightness, colours, and overall saturation require a label.