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October 24, 2019

Instagram bans plastic surgery filters over mental health concerns

Mental Health Social Media
Instagram plastic SOURCE/UNSPLASH.COM

Instagram and effects provider Spark AR will remove visual filters that allow users to simulate plastic surgery and make recommendations for cosmetic changes.

The company behind Instagram's augmented reality face filters will soon remove effects that simulate the outcome of plastic surgery procedures or otherwise point out facial flaws. 

Spark AR, which creates a range of popular filters used on the Facebook-owned social media site, explained its decision in a Facebook post last week. 

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"We want Spark AR effects to be a positive experience and are re-evaluating our existing policies as they relate to well-being," the company wrote. 

Certain filters have allowed users to visualize the results of cosmetic surgery on their lips, eyebrows, cheeks and other areas. Two popular filters for this were "Fix Me" and "Plastica." 

Numerous studies in recent years have suggested that Instagram and other social media use can fuel negative self-image, particularly among women. 

Instagram has recently begun scrutinizing content that promotes and incentivizes weight loss products and other health supplements presented as miracle cures. 

Spark AR could not provide exact timing on its new policy regarding filters, but said it will continue to remove policy-violating effects as they are identified. 

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