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In France, it will be mandatory for influencers to label filtered and retouched images

As part of a larger law to regulate the activities of influencers

In France, it will be mandatory for influencers to label filtered and retouched images As part of a larger law to regulate the activities of influencers

France wants to regulate the activities of influencers at a legal level to eliminate the risk of fraud and limit the potential negative impact on social media users. Already in the past, the government had taken action against eating disorders and in support of body positivity by introducing a minimum limit for the body mass index of models and passing a law requiring that all advertising images in which models' bodies have been altered, must be labelled "retouched photos" Now it wants to become the first European country to regulate an ever-growing profession by introducing a proper legal definition of the profession of influencer, providing for the temporary or permanent deletion of their accounts on social networks in case of fraud.

«Influencers must be subject to the same rules as those that apply to traditional media»the country's finance minister, Bruno Le Marie, told Franceinfo, stressing that the internet «is not the Wild West». To this end, the draft law being debated by the National Assembly includes, in addition to an official legal definition of who influencers and their agents are, the introduction of a code of conduct to be followed, greater supervision by the authorities and a ban on advertising certain products such as surgery, medicines and risky investments (e.g. cryptocurrencies) in return for financial compensation. The section of the proposal that obliges all French influencers (but also those living abroad who earn money by sponsoring products sold in France) to report filtered or retouched images and bans the sponsorship of cosmetic surgery as part of paid partnerships is causing a lot of discussion. Influencers are still free to talk about any product or procedure in their personal profiles, but they are not allowed to profit financially from it and thus get paid for sponsoring it, under threat of up to two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros

According to Le Marie, who promises a «zero tolerance approach» towards anyone who does not comply with the rules, the new measures would help «limit the destructive psychological effects of these practices on the Internuats’ esteem» and protect the psychophysical and social well-being of those who are unable to distinguish between content published online. The aim would also be to curb the demand for cosmetic surgery, which, according to the French National Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (SNCPRE), has been steadily increasing over the last three years.

Given that it is time to regulate the work of influencers like any other business, many people question whether a law labelling digital content that is not genuine is really helpful The idea of beauty and the relationship each of us has with our bodies is perhaps one of the most complex and deeply rooted issues in our society, and it is unlikely that the new laws will change this or limit body dysmorphism and other pathologies or mental health impacts. Especially considering that while it is true that philtres like Bold Glamour and other manipulated images that populate Instagram and TikTok are associated with poor body image in adolescent girls (and others), a 2019 Flinders University study found that exposure to images with retouching prompts does not suppress women's dissatisfaction with their bodies, but on the contrary, exacerbates it. So what needs to be done?