Some TikTok users are saying the app automatically added beauty filters to their videos without their knowledge or permission, according to a report by MIT Technology Review.
Beauty filters, which make skin smoother, lips more plump, and can “feminize” facial features, are a Gordian knot of temporary ego boosts and thorny self-esteem issues that include everything from Snapchat dysmorphia to the perpetuation of Eurocentric beauty standards. But these filters are typically accessed by the user, not by an app automatically applying them.
The fitness influencer Tori Dawn was about to film a video when she noticed her face looked different. Instead, she made a video showing how a beauty filter was being automatically applied. “Honestly I don’t feel comfortable making videos right now as long as this,” Dawn says as she demonstrates how her jaw changes as she move her hand over her eyes, apparently blocking the filter from picking up a face. “I don’t feel comfortable presenting myself in a way that isn’t authentic. How do I fix this?”
Other users who had also experienced the change commented things like, “I’m surprised more people aren’t upset about it it’s really been screwing with my self-image,” and “I almost had a panic attack earlier because I didn’t recognize myself and I can’t turn it off lmao.”
Other TikTok users used Dawn’s video to call out the change, posting videos showing their face shapes shifting when they covered their eyes, demonstrating that the filter was being automatically applied.
According to MIT Technology Review, the glitch mainly affected Android users over the course of a few days in May 2020. TikTok said in a short statement that there had been an issue, but didn’t provide any other details.