header thumbnail image

Instagram Bans Filters with ‘Plastic Surgery’ Effects

October 23, 2019 - Emil Ougendal

Instagram face filters allow you to alter features and add effects to your face and your background, including virtual clothing items such as glasses and hats, but due to mental health concerns one type of filter has been banned

Plastic surgery has become a big issue in recent years, especially among younger women, with more and more deciding to alter their lips among other things. With people’s confidence in their natural looks at an all-time low, it comes as a welcome surprise that the company in charge of creating filters for Instagram, Spark AR, has decided to lead by example.

In a statement, the company said: “We want Spark AR effects to be a positive experience and are re-evaluating our existing policies as they relate to well-being.”

Photo: Daniel Mooney/Instagram

The augmented reality company also stated that it is “removing all effects associated with plastic surgery from the Instagram Effect Gallery”, in addition to “postponing approval of new effects associated with plastic surgery until further notice.

“At this time, we’re not able to provide exact timing on the new policy rollout, but we’ll share updates as soon as we can.”

The statement really is one of empowerment that should be applauded. In 2018, something called “Snapchat dysmorphia” was identified by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery as a result of photo filters.

Meanwhile, Dr Neelan Vashi, director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Centre, says: “Patients are seeking out surgery to help them appear like the filtered versions of themselves.

“Filtered selfies especially can have harmful effects on adolescents or those with BDD [body dysmorphic disorder] because these groups may more severely internalise this beauty,”

The Face Filter Boom

The face filter phenomenon blew up in 2015 when both Snapchat and MSQRD introduced their phone lenses. MSQRD was probably the better of the two despite Snapchat being an established app compared to the brand new MSQRD, but the Snapchat quickly caught up and took charge of the market despite Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg purchasing MSQRD in 2016.

In the following years, dog and flower crown filters became an epidemic, and for a brief period, everyone was a catfish. There were even petitions to stop girls from using the dog filter:

Even though Facebook’s purchase of MSQRD didn’t have a huge effect in the battle against Snapchat, there was a long-term strategy in place.

In 2017 Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, introduced their first filters, and it proved to be another lethal blow to Snapchat as more and more people switched over.

Snapchat was already stagnated at the time, but the introduction of filters across all Facebook-owned platforms proved a nail in the coffin in terms of healthy growth.

Keeping on top of social media trends is integral to any marketing success. Whether using Facebook’s communities to grow your brand or Instagram’s flashy images to drive sales, we have the social media strategy for your needs.

Emil Ougendal

Emil Ougendal

Social Media Manager

view full profile
Back to Blog

Let's start something special

Get in touch with Fifteen today to start your project.

Get In Touch
Footer Call to Action
Sending