Many TikTok users have felt compelled to speak out against the app's new filter 'Bold Glamour'.
While distorted effects on social media have become the norm – and can just be a bit of fun – the precision and lifelikeness of the latest filter has caused much concern about how healthy it is.
So, what exactly is Bold Glamour and why has it led to so much outrage online?
TikTok's Bold Glamour filter and the reaction explained in 10 points
What is the Bold Glamour filter? The new beauty filter adds seemingly immaculate make-up, gives an airbrushed look, and adjusts facial structure. Unlike previous filters, it doesn't glitch and stays looking 'perfect'.
The reaction has been largely negative. "It's scary because there's [sic] a lot of girls that don't realise when someone's got a filter on and they're chasing perfection," said TikTok user zoe_george_, while @memotv tweeted the "uncanny" precision is "psychological warfare & pure evil".
Before and after videos are causing a stir. Many have posted on TikTok what they look like with and without the filter, sharing their own shock and upset at the difference. "This filter has to be illegal," commented @notsophiesilva, while meghan__lane__ said, "my insecurity is about to sky-rocket."
Social media filters are more realistic than ever. From Instagram photo filters in 2010 and 'live filters' a year later, to the #NoFilter trend rising in 2014 and Snapchat 'lenses' in 2015 (remember Heart Eyes and Dog Filter), AI developments now make it hard to tell what is and isn't real.
But why do people even want filters? "With the prevalence for facial ‘tweakments’ it’s easy to think we ought to look more like a filtered image," says Dr Marianne Trent, clinical psychologist, and host of The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast.
Filters can be a dangerous tool because even when it says filters have been used, we don't always notice. "One of the difficulties with self-esteem and body dysmorphia is that the things we see as we scroll on a good day can act like a seed being dropped into the soil ready to germinate on a bad day," says Trent.
And for the person using it? "Someone might naturally compare their real face to the filtered image and conclude they look better filtered or they get more likes and comments. Ultimately, this can also contribute to people wanting to change the way they look," adds Trent.
TikTok's teenage filter is also circulating. This one very accurately makes you look like a teen. Describing it as “quite emotional”, one social media user said, “TikTok is full of middle-aged folks being confronted by this and trying to…understand where their life went.”
ICYMI over on tiktok AI is hitting hard on genx.
I've always said wrt AI, expect the unexpected, the future's gonna be weirder than anyone can imagine. Skynet is the last thing to be worried about.
This is the real #aiart #AIArtCommuity pic.twitter.com/FlwUrftR6o
— memo akten (@memotv) February 23, 2023
What are the other safety risks? As well as perpetuating a need to look more 'beautiful' or younger, Trent warns, "If anyone can realistically change their age using a filter, then this can pose safety risks for people of all ages and lull people into a false sense of security." It means older predators could pose as someone much younger.
Becoming addicted to filters? "If you find yourself wanting to use a filter for each image or video you create then it might be worth chatting this through with a mental health professional. Trying to follow accounts which declare whether images have been filtered or edited can also be kinder to self-esteem."
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