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Instagram bans plastic surgery filters in bid to improve mental health of users

Image credit: Tania Nasr

Instagram has removed plastic surgery filters in a bid to improve the mental health of its users. 

Augmented reality filters that make users look like they have had plastic surgery will be banned, according to the social media giant. The Facebook-owned app released a tool in August that allowed users to create and share their own effects, which are superimposed onto photos and videos.

But the move resulted in “Instagrammers” being able to use filters, such as the popular Plastica, that depicted extreme plastic surgery. Some effects include facelifts, with lines drawn across their face, fillers and lip injections. A Facebook company spokesperson said:

We’re re-evaluating our policies - we want filters to be a positive experience for people.

They added that while they were re-evaluating, they would “remove all effects from the gallery associated with plastic surgery; stop further approval of new effects like this; and remove current effects if they’re reported to us.” 

Senior Instagram executives told MPs in May that the firm would pay closer attention to appearance-changing photo filters over concerns about the impact they may have on people's body image.

I think that body image is a really important topic, broadly speaking, not just on Instagram, and this is something that we are taking really seriously, especially in some of the research we are doing,

Vishal Shah, head of product at Instagram, told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The social network has been under increased scrutiny following a number of self-harm incidents.


In November 2017, 14-year-old Molly Russell took her own life after viewing disturbing material on the app. 

Her family believe harmful content on social media was a contributory factor after finding material relating to depression and suicide on her accounts, and have called for tech firms to be held to account.

In an interview in the Telegraph earlier this year, the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri said Molly’s case had “hit me in the chest” and announced he was changing the Instagram's policy to remove all graphic self-harm images. 

by The Telegraph.

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Feb 22, 2021

Very glad to see this. Celebrate who you ARE.

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