Good news, everybody! After a hot-topic year for Photoshop—think Lorde, Aerie and Flora Borsi—two Congresswomen from the House of Representatives are co-sponsoring bill H.R. 4341: Truth in Advertising Act of 2014.
Based on the bill’s findings that “altered images can create distorted and unrealistic expectations and understandings of appropriate and healthy weight and body image,” Republican representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic representative Lois Capps are calling for stricter and more regulated policing of media advertisements by the Federal Trade Commission. The bill’s stipulations mandate that within “18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the FTC shall submit to Congress a report that contains a strategy to reduce the use, in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products, of images that have been altered to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted.” Offending images containing excessive or unnatural retouching will be subject to analysis by the federal government.
Not gonna lie, we’re pretty excited. After decades of Photoshop distorting public perception of normalcy, this bill is a huge step in the right direction, and it’s fostering bipartisan relationships. (Woohoo!) We’ve still got a ways to go in defining what constitutes “excessive” retouching, and almost two years until the proposed regulations are implemented, but the government taking a stand means that change is on the horizon. And, until then, we have a few suggestions of how to spot Photoshop on your own.
1.Look at the skin texture: Human skin is almost impossible to replicate, so photoshopped images of people will frequently have an inconsistent or pore-free appearance (specifically on the nose and arms).
2. Identify similar patterns: Photo editors will often make an image believable by faking cohesion. Keep your eyes peeled for near-identical images or effects!
3. Use the right software: Image authentication technology is increasingly available for those who want to know exactly what’s been changed. There are free options like FotoForensics and full-priced ones like Fourmatch.