Instagram bans some selfie filters over mental health concerns

Instagram is banning selfie filters that show what users would look like with plastic surgery over concerns about its effect on mental health.

The Facebook-owned social media app will soon get rid of its photo filters that show what user’s selfies would look like with fuller lips, higher cheekbones, and sleeker facial features.

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And Instagram has since removed its “Fix Me” filter, which draws pen marks all over user’s faces to point out the areas a cosmetic surgeon could do plastic work on, like lifts and tucks. Users will also no longer be able to access its “Plastica” filter, which gives someone a brow lift or bigger lips.

Spark AR, the company that creates Instagram’s face filters, said it will be removing “all effects associated with plastic surgery” from the Instagram Effect Gallery, it announced in a Facebook post last week.

“We want Spark AR effects to be a positive experience,” the company said in the Facebook post, adding that it would re-evaluate its policies “as they relate to well-being.”

Studies suggest a correlation between Instagram use among young women and negative body image and low self-esteem. A study from psychologists at the University College London published in April found evidence that women and young girls are more likely to want to get plastic surgery if they spend extensive time on social media.

Instagram has become more filtered with the effect the app can have on mental and physical health. Last month, the social media app said it would start restricting minors from viewing posts that promote and incentivize buying detox teas, diet pills, appetite suppressants and other health supplements with unhealthy weight-loss claims. Now, Instagram content reviewers will be able to report a post if they think it violates its policy, and influencers will no longer be able to hawk weight-loss products with miracle claims and a link to a discount code to get followers to buy them.

“It’s not in the interest of the broader community to be exposed to these kinds of branded miracle claims,” Instagram Public Policy Manager Emma Collins told the Evening Standard,  last month, adding that the company will also restrict users under 18 from seeing promotional posts about cosmetic procedures.