The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that filters should not be applied to social media adverts if they exaggerate the effect of the product.
The ASA was responding to the #filterdrop campaign that called for it to be compulsory for influencers to state when they use a beauty filter to promote skincare or cosmetics.
Sasha Pallari, who started the campaign, said she was “over the moon” after the ASA said filtered beauty content could be “misleading”.
Miss Pallari, 29, from Weston-super-Mare, started #filterdrop in July 2020 in the hope of seeing “more real skin” on Instagram.
The use of filters on social media is a widely debated issue, attracting the attention of not only celebrities and social media influencers but also MPs.
The ASA examined two examples of where filters had been added to videos shared by influencers advertising tanning products, adding that the outcome of these rulings would apply to all UK brands, influencers and celebrities.
They were two Instagram stories for Skinny Tan Ltd and one for Tanologist Tan which was banned for applying a filter that “misleadingly exaggerated the effect the product was capable of achieving”.
It ruled the ads in both cases were likely to have misled consumers.
It said the ruling means that brands, influencers and celebrities should not apply filters to photos that promote beauty products if the filters are likely to exaggerate the effect the products are capable of achieving.
The ASA said that filtered beauty content could still be misleading, even if the name of the filter was referenced in the Instagram story.
Ads that break these rules would be taken down and prohibited from appearing again, which was likely to damage the advertiser and influencer’s reputation, the ASA said.
A spokesman said: “An ongoing focus of our work in this area continues to be on raising awareness of the rules and supporting influencers with the guidance and tools they need to help get their ads right.
“We’re also working closely with the social media platforms who can and will enforce our rulings where an advertiser is unwilling or able to work with us.”
Miss Pallari said: “I feel like the detrimental effect this is having on social media users has finally been taken seriously and this is a huge step in the right direction for how filters are used and the way cosmetics are advertised online.”
She said it was an issue she had been passionate about for a long time and she received messages every day from women struggling to match the beauty standards in real life that they see online.
“I can now help make a difference to how these women view themselves in the mirror and that’s amazing,” she said.