News / Digital

Facebook removes all Spark AR effects related to plastic surgery after wellbeing concerns

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Daniel Mooney: Fix Me Spark AR filter

Facebook has announced it is removing all Spark AR effects associated with plastic surgery, following a flurry of bad press around such filters and the negative body image they promote. In August, Facebook revealed that its previously invite-only platform for Spark AR creators was being opened to the public, allowing anyone to create and publish augmented reality effects for use in Instagram Stories. After two months, the company has just announced it is changing its policies around which filters make it to the Effects Gallery, aiming to refocus on mental wellbeing.

Though a number of filters such as Beautiful Face and Plastics mimicked the effects of plastic surgery, the filter that attracted the most controversy was Fix Me, which showed how a cosmetic surgeon would plan your surgery by drawing on your face and showing the results of eyebrow lifts, nose jobs and cheek filler. After growing concerns over the impact of social media, particularly Instagram, on users’ mental health, the publishing of these filters added fuel to the fire. Though they are made by independent creators, the platform is responsible for approving the filters.

Yesterday, Facebook announced that is banning any AR effects associated with plastic surgery, stating that the company wants its effects “to be a positive experience and are re-evaluating its existing policies as they relate to well-being.” While this happens, Facebook is removing said effects (including Fix Me), postponing approval of related new effects, and continuing to remove policy-violating effects as they are identified.

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Facebook: Spark AR