French influencers may soon face a new set of regulations that could drastically change their social media presence. In a move to combat potentially harmful practices, the government is considering a ban on the promotion of cosmetic surgery on social media.
Influencers may also be required to clearly label any retouched or filtered images.
If passed, the law will prohibit advertising or endorsement of cosmetic surgery that is paid for or sponsored for by a third party; with cryptocurrency and gambling partnerships also being banned.
The government aims to minimize the negative psychological impact that such promotions can have on the general population.
These images can be highly misleading and promote unrealistic beauty standards. This can create a sense of pressure and insecurity among followers. Especially for young people who often feel like they need to conform to these standards through cosmetic surgery.
France is a leading hub for buttock enhancement procedures, where there has been a significantly higher number of cosmetic procedures performed per capita compared to other countries.
For every 100,000 people in France, 479 buttock enlargement procedures are carried out annually. While Japan sees 166 interventions, the UK 254, and India only 69.
As a result, experts estimate that the French market for cosmetic procedures may continue to increase for the forecast period of 2018 to 2028.
This makes regulation in filtered Instagram images all the more necessary.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire proposed a series of rigorous regulations, which if broken, could carry serious penalties. Influencers who breach these regulations could face a prison sentence of up to 2 years and fines of €30,000 ($32,515).
Offending influencers may also find themselves unable to continue their careers on social media, as a consequence of their actions.
Le Maire has taken a tough stance to enforce the proposed regulations. These regulations will be up for debate in the National Assembly.
In a press release, Le Maire stated that France is the first European country to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for the influencer industry. The proposed law will affect all French influencers. Including foreign influencers who don’t live in the country, but earn money from product sponsorships in France.
In an interview with French radio network Franceinfo, Le Maire clarified that the goal is not to fight influencers or to create a stigma around them, but to establish a structured system of accountability so both influencers and patients can feel safe.
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are forms of media. Influencers using these platforms should still abide by the rules of traditional media, explained the finance minister.
This isn’t the first time worries about unrealistic beauty standards were a cause for concern.
Recent statistics show that 7 in 10 girls believe they fall short of being good enough. Around 92% of teen girls would like to change something about their physical appearance, with body weight being among the most common concerns.
The 2017 Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report shows “that more than half (54%) of all girls globally do not have high body esteem, and this can have a lasting impact on their overall confidence and life satisfaction,” according to its Foreword by Cultural Expert and Adjunct Professor, Jess Weiner of University of Southern California, Annenberg School of Journalism.
Another study explained that the unreal reality of Instacelebs or Influencers is giving people a false perception of unattainable beauty standards. Countless young women believe that if they look as good as an Internet celebrity, they will be perfect.
Selfies and pictures are carefully filtered and edited. This is why these celebrities are often looking perfect. But, this form of perfectionism is having a damaging impact on youth. It can make the younger generation feel self-conscious and uneasy about their personal appearance.