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Instagram filter, @johwska
courtesy of Instagram/@johwska

New Instagram filters are on hold due to coronavirus

Moderators and reviewers won’t be able to assess new submissions, as Facebook asks staff to leave the office

While we’re in various stages of lockdown or social distancing to avoid spreading coronavirus, phones and social media are often our only connection to the outside world (no, I do not want to see my screen time report this month, thank you very much). However, there is some bad news for Instagram users, and specifically fans of the platform’s augmented reality filters.

Facebook – owner of both Instagram and Spark AR, the software that allows creators to develop the filters – has announced that no new filters will be featured for an unspecified length of time.

The change is due to the reviewers and moderators who assess new submissions being asked to leave the office, in the name of social distancing (though they will still be paid, according to Facebook policy shared with TechCrunch).

“Creators can continue to use Spark AR Hub and submit their effects and updates to be reviewed at a later date,” reads a statement on the Facebook page for Spark AR creators. “Some of our automated validation processes will still be active so creators can continue to get feedback on some aspects of their submissions.”

Of course while this is bad news for people sat at home, yearning for some new, virtual elf ears or alien eyes to get them through quarantine, it’s even worse for creators that have lost a creative outlet (and, potentially, paid work with brands asking for custom filters).

“We’re actively exploring ways to offset this disruption and let creators get back to publishing,” the statement continues. “We can’t yet provide exact timing on when this will happen, but we’ll share updates in Spark AR Hub when we’re able to.”

In the meantime, you can browse Dazed Beauty’s fave Instagram filters from 2019 to tide you over.