Norway’s New Law Requires Influencers To Disclose Photo Retouching

“Body pressure is always there, often imperceptibly, and is difficult to combat,” said Norway’s Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.

An influencer in Norway taking a photo in her bikini by a pool
Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images for boohoo

Earlier this month, Norway’s parliamentary legislative body, Stortinget, voted overwhelmingly to require influencers and advertisers to label retouched images on social media, reported Vice. The law is intended to fight against unrealistic depictions of beauty and health. In order to implement the law, the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs has just released its guidance detailing how such images must be labeled and clarifying which content producers are subject to the new requirement.

Under the new law, an entity that “[receives] any payment or other benefit” in regards to the post much include a standardized government label notifying users that the image has been retouched. This includes brands, companies, and influencers’ sponsored and gifted posts, and is subject to all social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

The regulations do not specify which types of retouching must be labeled; instead, a blanket label applies to any forms of body image manipulation, ranging from Instagram filters, apps like Facetune, erasing blemishes, enhancing waistlines and lips, and altering muscles or body proportions. Violating the law can lead to fines.

In Norway, the cultural discussion over unhealthy and impossible beauty standards, known as kroppspress, has led to calls for the Stortinget to get involved. Kroppspress translates to “body pressure,” and citing a study, the Ministry noted that such pressure can have deleterious effects on kids and teens’ sense of self-worth.

“A requirement for retouched or otherwise manipulated advertising to be marked is one measure against body pressure (that) will hopefully make a useful and significant contribution to curbing the negative impact that such advertising has, especially on children and young people,” said the Ministry in a statement. “Body pressure is present in the workplace, in the public space, in the home, and in various media. Body pressure is always there, often imperceptibly, and is difficult to combat.”

Hopefully, the new law will offer greater transparency in influencers’ work, and provide a healthier social media experience in general.