Girl Guides: Enhanced photos need labels on social media

Girl Guides: Enhanced photos need labels on social media

Curated via Twitter from BBC News Technology’s twitter account….

Some have said this would be difficult to enforce on social media, as it would rely on users policing themselves or others reporting them. "While some pictures look obviously edited, there are still fine tweaks anyone can make, which can be hard to identify," commented Unsah Malik, author of Slashed: The Ultimate Social Media and Influencer Marketing Guide. "This begs the question to what extent the new rules will be put in place, and how much we can trust influencers to tell the truth. "This then leaves us in the same position of setting unrealistic beauty standards.

Nick Ede, a brand expert, said there should be flexibility in the rules. "If you are specifically using a product that you are promoting, and don't declare that you have manipulated an image, that is false advertising – for example, a face cream and you've smoothed out your skin," he explained. "But if you are posting generic images that are part of your brand, then I don't think you should have to have any kind of accountability. "Treating people like they are a packet of cigarettes with what basically is a government health warning is just ridiculous.

Dr Luke Evans MP, a Tory member of the Health and Social Care Committee and a GP, was inspired to introduce the bill after seeing first-hand the effects of these images on people's mental health. "We know how damaging this is, as you're warping people's perspective of reality, whether that's slimming down for women or bulking up for men," he added.

Dr Evans accepts that his recommendations would be hard to enforce. "Just because it's difficult in principle, doesn't mean we should not do it," he responded. "Social media companies have a role to play, allowing people to see what is true reality. "These influencers have large audiences and need to be transparent – labelling content is not a huge ask.

The panel cited its own research which suggests around half of young women aged between 11 and 21 regularly use apps or filters to make photos of themselves look better online. "The 'perfect' images girls are encountering in their daily lives are having a devastating impact on self-esteem and confidence," said 15-year-old panel member Alice. "These enhanced images create a false society where how girls look is perceived to be the most important aspect about them.

One model with more than 700,000 followers said people can follow at their own discretion. "It is an individual's choice how they wish to represent themselves through social media," Rahi Chadda added. "It impacts their own mental health also.

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