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Are digital face filters putting people at risk

Aug 24, 2023
Archana Ms.
Core Spirit member since Aug 24, 2023
Reading time 6 min.

It is not surprising at all that many people try to present themselves in the best possible light, especially online in order to get more and more likes, for which they use digital beauty filters that convincingly alters facial features to look more attractive and emulates a soft glam makeup look, which has also prompted new beauty standards.

Online apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok provide ultra realistic beauty filters to users that can transform people's appearance; such filters could lead to an obsessive interest in the appearance of oneself and of others.

These face apps have many filters which can be added to the pictures to completely change the look of the user's face. For example, hair can be volumized and coloured, nose can be shortened, lips can be enlarged and eyes can be given a ‘cat/fox eye' look.

"They can do so much more. Today beauty filters are changing the way young girls see themselves,” according to MIT Technology Review.
Today beauty filters are found on most of the major image sharing social media platforms. Basically beauty filters are specific photo editing tools that use artificial intelligence to alter facial features in photos. Once the AI model recognizes the facial features, it applies enhancements according to the filter’s functionality. With these enhancements, users can create a customized (and often idealized) version of their own face. Common filters are “the skinny filter” "Face Tune" on TikTok, which makes your face look thinner, and the “perfect face filter” on Instagram, which adjusts facial features according to an ideal proportion.

Nowadays, the most popular filters like Bold Glamour (Tik Tok face app) are beautification based, like removing wrinkles or smoothing skin.
While beauty filters can be fun and entertaining. Such filters convey unrealistic beauty standards without making viewers realize that the look comes from software.

Furthermore, most people may not know that using face filtering apps like FaceTune or face apps can also have serious psychological effects on them. And their deceptive face can further reinforce the negative belief that their appearance is not good enough. As a result, young people may experience a disconnection between how they look and the edited images they share with the world.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) warns that this phenomenon is leading to new self-esteem problems that may even lead to body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is characterized by excessive concern for body image, and negative feelings about your body, in addition to symptoms of anxiety, depression and other psychiatric problems.

How the obsession with face apps could pose serious dangers to people?,

We cannot ignore the fact that photo-sharing giants like Facebook, MySpace and eventually Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok have also promoted face morphing filters. Though Facebook is aware of the harmful effects these apps have on women.

According to a report from City University of London, beauty filters have become increasingly popular on social media, with over 90 percent of young people in the United States, France, and the UK using filter products on their apps. However, research has shown that digital beauty filters can have a negative impact on mental health.

Face filtering apps can create an unrealistic perception of beauty, distorting individuals' understanding of what is natural and attainable. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and the belief that one's unfiltered appearance is not good enough, resulting in self-criticism and reduced self-confidence.
However, face filtering apps allow users to modify their appearance in photos and videos by applying various filters and effects. But such filters are also coming to the fore in a time of rising stress and loneliness when many young people are already reporting a dip in their self-confidence. Youth with low self-esteem and poor body image are more likely to use filters.

People using face filtering apps often share their edited photos on social media platforms, creating a culture of comparison. This can trigger feelings of envy and a fear of missing out (FOMO) when individuals perceive others as having more attractive or desirable appearances. This constant comparison can negatively impact mental well-being and contribute to feelings of social isolation.

In addition to body image issues, frequent use of face filtering apps can lead to dependency and addiction-like behaviors. Some individuals may become obsessed with achieving a certain filtered appearance, spending excessive amounts of time and effort editing their photos and videos. This preoccupation can interfere with daily activities, relationships, and overall mental well-being.

People begin to expect themselves to look like their filtered self and can become obsessed with achieving that in the real world, which leaves them depressed, anxious, lonely, and disappointed only because of such filters.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal- "thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse" and "among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the issue to Instagram."
In addition to serious psychological consequences, such online face filters may also pose privacy and security threats to you, although the extent of these risks may vary depending on the specific technology and its implementation.

If an app requires access to the camera or other sensitive permissions, it can potentially be used as a tool for unauthorized access to a user's device or personal information. This personal data could potentially be used for purposes beyond the intended use of filters, such as targeted advertising or facial recognition.

Vulnerabilities may exist in poorly designed or insecure face filter apps, which means that face filter apps may be vulnerable to security breaches or hacking attempts that could be exploited by hackers.

Face filters often rely on capturing and processing biometric data, such as facial features and expressions. If this data is not adequately protected, it may be vulnerable to unauthorized access or data breaches, potentially leading to identity theft or other fraudulent activities.
Face filters are often shared on social media platforms, which can expose users to social engineering attacks. Malicious actors can use face filter images to create convincing fake profiles or engage in other forms of impersonation.

Did you know that a face app can also create identity morphing images?, Face morphing refers to the process of blending or transforming one face into another, creating a seamless transition between the two faces. This technology uses facial recognition algorithms and image manipulation techniques to analyze and manipulate the facial features of individuals; for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, artistic expression, and visual effects.

It is important to note that the creation of such manipulated images also raises concerns regarding privacy, consent, and potential misuse. Face morphing technology can be used to create convincing fake images or videos, leading to issues such as identity theft, misinformation, or malicious impersonation.
Misusing face apps for deceptive purposes, such as creating misleading or fraudulent identity morphing images, can have serious consequences and may be illegal in certain contexts.

To avoid such situations, research the app before installing it, read the terms of service and privacy policies of the apps or platforms you use, carefully review the permissions it requests on your device and regularly review app permissions, limit access to your personal information, always use reputable app resources, update your app, always use a strong and unique password.

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Archana Ms.10mo ago