Influencers in France could soon be banned from promoting cosmetic surgery on social media, with the government set to make it mandatory for them to label filtered images.
Under the potential new law, a photo or video that’s filtered or retouched must be declared so, while “all promotion for cosmetic surgery … as part of a paid partnership will be prohibited” (gambling or cryptocurrency paid partnerships will also be banned).
The government is seeking to “limit the destructive psychological effects” the practices have on social media users.
Breaches of the strict regulations, proposed by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, could result in up to two years of jail and $32,515 (€30,000) in fines. Even worse (for them), offending influencers who are found guilty will not be allowed to use social media or continue their careers on the platforms.
Mr. Le Maire said there would be a “zero-tolerance approach” to anyone who does not respect the rules, which will be debated by France’s National Assembly from today.
In a press release, he said the country is the first European nation to create a comprehensive framework for regulating the influencer sector – with the law holding to account all French influencers, as well as those who live abroad but earn money from sponsoring products sold in France.
Mr. Le Maire on Monday told Franceinfo that the regulations were not a “fight” against influencers or a way to stigmatize them, but were a system to protect both them and consumers.
“Influencers must be subject to the same rules as those that apply to traditional media,” he said, saying the internet “is not the Wild West”.
It’s not the first time France has sought to increase transparency regarding the circulation of manipulated images. The nation passed a law in 2017 requiring any commercial photos that had been retouched to make a model’s body appear thinner or thicker to be labeled “photographie retouchée” (retouched photograph).
The idea came courtesy of France’s former health minister Marisol Touraine, who said at the time it was important to avoid the promotion of “inaccessible beauty ideals and to prevent anorexia among young people”.
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