[Updated] Instagram filters not showing or says 'This effect is not available in your location'? Here's why

Here’s the crux of the article in video form:

New updates are being added to the bottom of this story…

Original story (from May 11) follows:

Instagram is one of the most popular social platforms in the world. Currently, the service is part of the Meta conglomerate — formerly known as Facebook.

Unlike other social platforms, Instagram is based on multimedia content instead of text. The main role on Instagram is taken by pictures and short videos.

One of the most popular Instagram features is its filters. Many users find very attractive effects that they can apply to their photos through the app.

Instagram filters not only modify the color tones of the images. There are also filters that can profoundly modify the appearance of the subject.

However, currently Instagram filters are not showing for many users who only receive an error message saying ‘This effect is not available in your location’.

Instagram filters ‘This effect is not available in your location’ error

According to multiple reports, many Instagram users are unable to find their filters. The service allows you to save your favorite filters for quick use, but now these are missing.

When users try to re-add a filter to their favorites list, they only receive an error with a message that says ‘This effect is not available in your location’.


Sucky update?

Did anyone else’s filter go away? When I try to re add the ones that I already had save to use in my stories I get a message saying “this effect is not available in your location”. How can I fix it?

anybody else’s instagram filters saying “not available in your location” ??

This is the reason for the problem

Most users affected by the issue are from Texas and Illinois, but this has an explanation. It appears that Meta was forced to disable Instagram filters in those areas due to facial recognition laws.

As mentioned at the beginning, Instagram filters can also significantly change the appearance of the subject. For this, the app applies facial scanning and recognition technology.

However, this technology does not pass the filters of the current Texas and Illinois privacy laws. Therefore, Instagram filters will be ‘temporarily’ unavailable in those areas.

Meta plans to develop an opt-in system that will explain to users how the company’s facial scanning works. Then the filters will be available again, but there is no ETA for it.

A potential workaround

Some users were able to recover their filters, according to reports. They did this by enabling/disabling their phone location and uninstalling/reinstalling Instagram app.

It happened to me without updating! I miraculously got my saved filters back after turning my phones location on and off and uninstalling/reinstalling. But I have several friends who haven’t gotten their saved effects back and only see a “effect not available in your location” error message.

At the moment there is no official acknowledgment of the issue from the Instagram team. We will update this story as events unfold.

Update 1 (May 11)

A Meta spokesperson reached out to us on the matter with the following statement:

The technology we use to power augmented reality effects like avatars and filters is not facial recognition or any technology covered by the Texas and Illinois laws, and is not used to identify anyone. Nevertheless, we are taking this step to prevent meritless and distracting litigation under laws in these two states based on a mischaracterization of how our features work. We remain committed to delivering AR experiences that people love, and that a diverse roster of creators use to grow their businesses, without needless friction or confusion

Update 2 (May 12)

12:56 pm (IST): Meta has temporarily disabled Instagram filters in Texas and Illinois to avoid unnecessary litigation (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). However, Snapchat filters are still available in these regions.

So, users who lost Instagram filters can use Snapchat as an alternative. It can also be used for live streams and video chats on PC & Mac via Snap Camera. Moreover, you can create custom filters using Snapchat.

Update 3 (May 13)

09:41 am (IST): If Instagram filters are not available in your region, then you can try out some VPN applications to get them back. Here are some popular VPN services:

– SurfShark VPN

– ExpressVPN

– Nord VPN

Update 4 (May 16)

11:07 am (IST): Some users even outside of Texas and Illinois are reporting (1, 2) that they are unable to use Instagram filters. However, Meta hasn’t yet provided any explanation for this.

Update 5 (May 17)

11:53 am (IST): If Instagram filters are not available for you, then you can try other apps such as Snow to click pictures using filters. It is available on both Android and iOS.

Update 6 (May 18)

11:37 am (IST): Some users — who previously lost their filters — are now reporting (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) that they are again back on Instagram.

However, not all users have recovered them. This means that filters are now gradually making their comeback on Instagram.

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Jean Leon

A tech enthusiast since ever. I like to always be up to date on the latest news in the industry and write about it.