Norwegian law says edited adverts must be flagged – so why aren’t influencers following the rules?

Posted by Dina Zubi in Comment

1 year ago

Norway introduced new legislation in 2022 requiring a label on ads where bodies, skin or faces have been edited – including on influencers’ commercial content. Breaching the new rule can lead to fines, but as yet the round label with “retusjert person” (edited person) is nowhere to be seen on influencers’ feed.

Has the legislation already worked and led to less edited commercial content? Or are influencers purposefully being discreet with their editing?

While some brands have started incorporating the label into ads, influencers have not. Photo editing tools, even the free ones, can make subtle changes that are hard to detect without comparing the image or video to the original file side by side. Are the tweaks simply too difficult to recognise?

An “edited person” label (which has to fill 7% of the image or video) is not the most aesthetically pleasing addition to a post promoting skincare products or a new dress collection. This could be another reason influencers are hesitant to adhere to the new rule – they don’t want to alienate potential brand partners by taking the focus away from the product.

However, altering the skin’s appearance in a foundation ad or editing the fit of a skirt in a brand partnership may damage the influencer’s credibility, especially with the new legislation in place. The need for the rule is evident, with research in Norway showing social media is a key contributor to negative body image, but now that the law is in place very little seems to have changed.

When the legislation came into effect from 1 July 2022, the aim was to decrease societal pressure to conform to beauty standards, especially for children and young people. As of yet, no influencers or brands have been fined for breaching the new law but Forbrukertilsynet, the responsible government body, has received complaints which it is currently investigating. Perhaps when fines are inevitably given to influencers the industry will start incorporating the label, or better yet, stop editing ads.

By Dina Zubi, CORQ news and features writer. Pic credit: H&M