Feb 4, 2021
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ASA warns influencers about Instagram filter use

Feb 4, 2021

​Influencers have been warned by the UK’s ads watchdog on the use of misleading Instagram filters that could exaggerate the effect of beauty products being promoted on sponsored posts.

Sasha Pallari

The Advertising Standards Authority issued the ruling in response to a #filterdrop campaign started by Sasha Pallari that aimed to make it compulsory for influencers to say whether a filter had been used when promoting skincare or make-up. 

She launched her campaign last summer and highlighted in a post just what a difference filters can make by showing half her face in its natural state while the rest had a filter applied.

The ASA said its ruling applies to all UK brands, influencers and celebrities after examining two examples where filters were added to videos promoting tanning products.

It said the filters “misleadingly exaggerated the effect the product was capable of achieving”. It means any situation in which a filter exaggerates the effect promoted products could achieve is now banned. That applies even if social media posts state that filters have been used.

The ASA also said it wants to raise awareness of the rules and support influencers “with the guidance and tools they need to help get their ads right”. It’s working with the social media platforms themselves as well.

Sasha Pallari told the BBC that “the detrimental effect this is having on social media users has finally been taken seriously and this is a huge step in the right direction for how filters are used and the way cosmetics are advertised online”.

However, influencer and model Rahi Chadda also told the BBC that while he “completely agrees” with the ruling, it does raise some questions.

He said: “What is the definition of a filter? When we are talking about filters, are we talking about lighting, special effects, make-up before promoting a product... in that way most pictures on social media will be naturally filtered... you have already glorified the product in such a way before it is reaching the audience. They are going to have to be a lot clearer about what they mean by a filter and where we draw the line.”

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