New Instagram policy update: Plastic surgery filters get the axe in change by Spark AR

Megan C. Hills

Social media platforms appear to be cracking down on content and functions that could be detrimental to their users’ mental health, with Facebook age-gating advertisements promoting weight loss products and cosmetic procedures on Instagram.

A new development has tackled another popular Instagram feature, as any face filters related to plastic surgery have now been removed from the platform.

The news was announced by Spark AR, the team behind Instagram’s face filters. It revealed that “all effects associated with plastic surgery” would be removed from Instagram’s Effect Gallery and also added that any new plastic surgery-related effects awaiting approval would also be postponed.

The company added that it would continue “to remove policy-violating effects as they are identified”, saying that any creators waiting for their filters to be approved may potentially be delayed.

(Getty Images)

Spark AR’s technology allows anybody to create and publish face filters on Instagram and according to its site, more than 1 billion people have used its augmented reality software.

One filter that has already been deleted is the “Fix Me” filter, which The Sun revealed had been deleted earlier this October. The filter superimposed faux dotted lines written in sharpie onto a user's face, which mimicked how a plastic surgeon would plan a cosmetic procedure and included words including “fix me”, “fill” and “lift”. If you tapped on your face, then it would also provide an alternate version with heavy bruising around areas including the nose and eyes.

The creator of the Fix Me filter Daniel Mooney took to Instagram to inform fans that it had been taken down, writing in an Instagram story, “My plastic surgery filter has been removed because of new wellbeing policies on Instagram. They are removing all plastic surgery related filters.”

Speaking to Fabulous Digital at the time, Facebook told the outlet, “We’re re-evaluating our policies [on Instagram] - we want filters to be a positive experience for people. While we’re re-evaluating, we will: 1) remove all effects from the gallery associated with plastic surgery; 2) stop further approval of new effects like this; 3) and remove current effects if they’re reported to us.”

Spark AR wrote in a Facebook post, “We want Spark AR effects to be a positive experience and are re-evaluating our existing policies as they relate to well-being...We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you or your team.”