Instagram is removing all augmented reality (AR) filters that depict or promote cosmetic surgery, amid concerns they harm people’s mental health.
According to BBC, effects that make people look like they have had lip injections, fillers or a facelift will be among those banned. Research suggests face-changing filters can make people feel worse about the way they look. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said the ban was about promoting wellbeing.
“We’re re-evaluating our policies – we want our filters to be a positive experience for people,” a spokesman said. “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.”
In August, an update to the Instagram app allowed users to create their own virtual effects, such as animations and custom face filters, that can be superimposed on images and videos.
Many popular filters such as Plastica mimicked the effects of extreme cosmetic surgery. Another filter FixMe showed how a cosmetic surgeon marked a person’s face before procedures.
Instagram said it was unsure how long it would take to remove all of the filters but many users welcomed the ban. Research suggests excessive use of social media can cause feelings of depression – although some dispute those claims.
In February, Instagram said it would remove all graphic images of self-harm from the platform, amid concerns they could affect young and vulnerable people.