Snapchat’s Henry Turnbull says Bosworth MP’s photo-editing bill ‘has some merit’

Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 27 December 2020

A BILL to show that photographs have been digitally-altered by slapping them with a watermark ‘has some merit’, explained the United Kingdom and Nordics’ Head of Public Policy at Snap Inc., the parent company of popular selfie sharing app Snapchat.

Snapchat (Unsplash)

The bill was first discussed in Parliament in the House of Commons during a 10-minute ruling back on Tuesday 15 September after being put forward by Bosworth MP, Dr. Luke Evans (CONS).

If the idea went ahead, photographs that have been edited in photo-editing apps marked of an edited human body, or an edited human body part would have to be marked with a logo to indicate that it has been edited.

The ruling would also go for advertisers, broadcasters and publishers who have edited their photographs. Evans further confirmed through his official Twitter account that it would apply to photographs ‘edited for comedic effect’.

Turnbull’s statement

During a virtual meeting for the Women and Equalities Committee discussing an inquiry into body image in Parliament just a week and four days ago (16 December), Turnbull explained his thoughts on Luke’s proposal.

Henry Turnbull, Head of Public Policy for the UK and Nordics at Snap Inc. (Parliament UK)

Henry Turnbull, Head of Public Policy for the United Kingdom and Nordics at Snapchat’s parent company of Snap Inc., said: “I understand the proposal behind Dr Luke Evans MP’s 10-minute rule Bill is to have some kind of logo or symbol on images or videos that have been digitally altered.

“That is something that has some merit and should be carefully thought through.

“We use this kind of approach in some ways already on Snapchat. We offered a baby filter this year, again not hyper-realistic, that transformed the user’s face into a much younger person or a baby.

“In that lens, we added a little 3D rattle to the corner of the screen so that there was no confusion, even though again it was not hyper-realistic.

“The idea has some merit –  you want to avoid overly-nannying people and having huge disclaimers saying, “This has been an altered image”, when in many cases it is very obvious, but something subtle is an idea to think about certainly.”

Next bill reading

The meeting was also virtually attended by TikTok’s Head of Child Safety and Public Policy in Europe, Alexandra Evans, and Facebook’s UK Public Policy Manager, Richard Earley.

The second reading of the Bill will next take place early next year in Parliament in the House of Commons on 5 February 2021.

Leave a Reply