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France May Require Influencers to Label Filtered Images or Lose Their Platform

France May Require Influencers to Label Filtered Images or Lose Their Platform

France is set to become the first European country to regulate the influencer industry, with a new law that could see influencers banned from promoting cosmetic surgery on social media and would require influencers to label filtered images and ban paid partnerships for gambling or cryptocurrency.

Under the potential new law, a photo or video that’s filtered or retouched must be declared so, while “all promotion for cosmetic surgery … as part of a paid partnership will be prohibited.”

The law is aimed at limiting the “destructive psychological effects” that these practices can have on social media users.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has proposed strict regulations that could see offending influencers face fines of up to €30,000 ($32,515) and up to two years in jail. In addition, influencers found guilty will not be allowed to use social media or continue their careers on the platforms.

The “zero-tolerance” law will impact all French influencers and those who live abroad but earn money from sponsoring products sold in France accountable.

Le Maire also said the new rules are not designed to fight against influencers or to stigmatize them. Instead, he believes that influencers must be subject to the same rules as those that apply to traditional media. The internet, he told Franceinfo, “is not the Wild West.”

France has a history of increasing transparency regarding manipulated images. In 2017, the nation passed a law requiring any commercial photos that had been retouched to make a model’s body appear thinner or thicker to be labeled “photographie retouchée” (retouched photograph). The law was aimed at preventing the promotion of “inaccessible beauty ideals and anorexia among young people.”

The introduction of this new legislation comes at a time when 50 percent of girls believe they don’t look good enough without some form of photo editing. However, experts have warned that simply labeling something as retouched or filtered doesn’t necessarily stop the viewer from wanting to achieve the look. In fact, a study by the University of Warwick found that flagging models as “enhanced” or “manipulated” actually increases our desire to emulate their appearance.

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

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