At a time when social media and influencers are significantly influencing the way we live, the French Government is coming up with a way to diminish their impacts by proposing interesting legislation.

Under the potential new law, influencers would be required to label content that includes filters or retouching. There would also be a ban on promoting plastic surgery as part of paid partnerships.

The goal is to increase transparency in both media and advertising and to help “limit the destructive psychological effects of [filters and retouching] on internet users’ self-esteem,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire tweeted last week. If passed, those who breach the regulations could spend up to two years behind bars and pay $32,515 (€30,000) in fines, the New York Post reported.

And possibly the biggest blow, violaters would not be allowed to use social media or continue their careers on the platforms.

There will be a “zero-tolerance approach,” Le Maire said, adding that the regulations are intended to “fight” influencers but are a way for them and consumers to be protected.

The proposed new law is supported by France’s National Assembly, which plans to establish a committee within the Directorate General for Consumer Affairs, Competition, and Fraud Prevention to regulate influencers.

It’s not surprising that the country is taking measures into its own hands. In fact, it seems appropriate amid the progression of technology. In 2017, France passed a law requiring images featuring Photoshopped models must include a disclaimer that reads “retouched photographed.”

The discussion comes amid the controversy surrounding TikTok’s Bold Glamour filter, which casts an “unsettlingly realistic digital effect” on those who use it, Highsnobiety added, which can harm mental health and self-esteem.

Despite the lack of research conducted on adults and social media use, there is a link between adolescent girls and poor body image. A study by Dove found 50% of girls don’t believe they look good without photo editing.

The legislation means well but may not have the desired effects it seeks. Although influencers will have to disclose the use of filters and retouching, experts say despite revealing the images have been manipulated, it doesn’t stop the viewer from wanting to achieve the look. According to the University of Warwick, it can increase the person’s desire to get the look.

“Drawing attention to digitally altered images may not, as one might expect and hope, reduce the aspiration to attain contemporary beauty ideals,” the University stated. 

“Beauty ideals cannot be easily challenged by such interventions. Beauty ideals are culturally constructed and are carriers of meaning and value.”

Still, the legislation is a start.


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