Spark AR is removing Instagram filters related to plastic surgery–and sparking a big reaction

Instagram users are divided on their opinions regarding Spark AR’s decision to remove Instagram filters related to plastic surgery.

User Jesse Novak said their decision is “bullshit.”

Instagram user Jesse Novak. Courtesy of Jesse Novak

Spark AR Studios is an augmented reality software for Windows and Mac that allows users to create AR effects for smartphone cameras. On August 13, Facebook’s Spark AR Studio began allowing anyone to create and share Instagram filters for public use.

On October 18, 2019, Spark AR made a Facebook post about their decision to remove all filters from the Instagram effect gallery associated with plastic surgery and to re-evaluate their policies “as they relate to well-being.”

Novak says plastic surgery filters can have a negative effect on a person’s body image but it’s up to the person who’s using them to feel they are strong enough to surround themselves with those types of images.

“I feel like it’s just a fun way to play with your identity . . . If you feel insecure, then sorry but that’s on you. If you feel like you’re not strong enough or not in a proper mental state to see that, you shouldn’t use social media,” said Novak.

The most controversial filter was called FixMe. Daniel Mooney, creator of the FixMe filter, said he made it to critique plastic surgery.

Daniel Mooney using his FixMe filter. Courtesy of Daniel Mooney.

Mooney said, “I wanted to create a face filter that deglamorized plastic surgery, showing the process and how brutal it can actually be. I get that many people almost depend on beautifying face filters for every post they make now, which really isn’t that great is it? Although I do think Instagram removing these filters is a form of censorship which I am quite against. Body image is such a huge discussion and a tricky one. We all suffer from it in our own way. But you have to work on yourself and not idolize surgically enhanced people.”

Instagram user Shaina Eleazar said she’s glad they removed the plastic surgery related filters because it sends the wrong message to the younger generation and to the world in general.

Shaina Eleazar, first year BFTV student at Sheridan. Courtesy of Shaina Eleazar.

“I feel that most people interpret these filters as the new look–this being big lips and lots of botox. It contradicts the whole concept of loving your own features,” Eleazar said.

Spark AR said they are unable to provide an exact time as to when the new policy will rollout, but that they will share updates as soon as they can. They have released a centralized overview of their current review policies in order to provide more clarity and reduce the chance of submitted effects being rejected.

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About Raymond Cabbab 13 Articles
Raymond Cabbab is a journalism student with a passion for local and global politics. His goal is to give a voice to underserved communities.