Facebook Says That Approvals for AR Effects Submitted to Facebook and Instagram Will Be Put on Hold

Facebook has announced another impact of required staffing changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the company sending more staff home to reduce the potential spread of the virus, Facebook says that all of its Spark AR reviewers will soon not be operating. As a result, no user-submitted AR effects, for either Facebook Stories or Instagram, will be approved until further notice.

Facebook sent out a notification to Spark users, and posted the update on the Spark AR Instagram Story.

Spark AR announcement

It’s the latest in Facebook’s staffing shifts to accommodate the unprecedented changes in response to the COVID-9 outbreak. Earlier this week, Facebook also noted that it will be putting more reliance on automated tools to detect and remove posts which violate its platform rules, while it also warned that there could be delays in ad approvals due to reduced staff capacity.

The impacts here are significant, and will have a direct impact on Facebook’s bottom line, but they’re also, of course, necessary given the massive changes across the board being implemented as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

Providing users with the ability to create their own AR effects for Instagram has proven to be a significant win for Facebook in recent months, with the more recent trend of user-created ‘which character are you?’ effects gaining significant traction, and boosting usage.

Instagram AR effects

But it has also, even more recently, lead to some concerns. Last week, Instagram was forced to ban searches for COVID-19 related AR effects because users had raised concerns around them being insensitive, with some even spreading misinformation about the virus.

Yet, even taking into account these concerns, the decision to halt all approvals is a significant step. 

It’s another impact of the ongoing crisis – a lesser one, in the broader scheme, but a further reminder of the major, evolving changes across the board.  

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