It could be a long time before any new augmented reality effects are published on Instagram. The company is no longer approving new filters because the reviewers who normally sign off on user-created effects have been sent home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instagram alerted filter makers of the change Thursday via a Facebook post in its Spark AR community group. "We're actively exploring ways to offset this disruption and let creators get back to publishing," the company wrote. "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."
For now, filter makers can sill submit new effects to Instagram, but since the company isn't offering a timeline on approvals, it will likely be some time before they're published.
The change comes after Mark Zuckerberg confirmed Facebook had sent home its army of content moderators, most of whom work for the company as contractors, in response to health concerns (and criticism for not doing so earlier). Zuckerberg said some of those contractors will be able to continue their work remotely. But he said the company is prioritizing moderation work that deals with mental health, which may come with a "trade-off against some other types of content that may not have as imminent physical risks for people."