Hyper-realistic beauty filters are here to stay

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The Bold Glamor filter, now used over 16 million times Since its release last month, contours your cheekbone and jawline in a sharp but subtle line. It also highlights the tip of your nose, the area under your eyebrows, and the apples of your cheeks. In addition, it lifts your eyebrows, applies a shimmer to your eyelids, and gives you thick, long, black eyelashes. It has, as the name implies, a glamorous effect.

The aesthetic itself is impressive. However, the really amazing thing is how well it functions. The filter doesn’t glitch when your face moves or if something like a waving hand interrupts the visual field, as filters usually do.

@rosaura_alvrz

“You guys. This is a problem. You can’t even tell it’s a filter anymore,” lamented user @rosaura_alvrz as she patted her face to test the filter in a review on TikTok.

Professional filter and AR creator Florencia Solari says Bold Glamor likely employs machine learning, and though it’s not the first time an AI filter has made waves, she says, “The experience with these filters is so seamless, and can achieve such a convincing level of reality, that it’s not a surprise people are freaking out.”

And, indeed, people are freaking out. So how concerned should we be about this distorted-reality world?

First, some context. For years, augmented-reality filters on social media sites like Snap, Instagram, and TikTok have allowed users to easily edit their pictures and videos with preset characteristics that often perpetuate specific beauty standards like plump lips, hollow cheeks noses, and wide eyes.

Beauty filters, in conjunction with influencer culture and algorithmic amplification, have led to a rapid narrowing of beauty standards in a way that prioritizes whiteness and thinness.

Young people love using filters (the latest numbers I have from Meta show that over 600 million people have used at least one of its AR products), but there’s minimal research into the effects on our mental health, identity, and behavior.



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