TikTok’s new filter is a bit too realistic for some

The newest trend sweeping TikTok is yet another example of why you can't trust everything you see online.  

Driving the news: A new TikTok filter called Bold Glamour has been used in over 11 million videos as users are simultaneously in awe of and terrified by its seamless ability to change people's appearances.

  • Like other beauty filters popular, Bold Glamour adds makeup, sharpens features, tans skin, plumps up lips, and creates an uncanny glimmer in the eyes.

But unlike other filters, it's very convincing and doesn't go haywire if you put your hand in front of your face. Though TikTok has been mum on how the app works, developers have deduced that it's likely able to function so well thanks to AI machine learning technologies.

  • According to one developer, the filter "compares aspects of your face to a dataset of other images that start to match against your cheeks, eyes, eyebrows, lips, and more" and, in real time, is able to combine the two sets of images into one.

Why it matters: Technology like this isn't new (it’s also used to create deepfakes), but the fact it's now running on a mobile app for users with zero technical know-how certainly is novel.

  • "This is a bit of a milestone, a professor of computational art and design told The Verge, "and an indicator of the weirdness of the post-reality world that lies ahead."

Zoom out: The filter has caused an outcry against the app for dangerously promoting unrealistic beauty standards. These voices have a point. A 2021 study found that beauty filters were greatly intensifying pressures on young women to change their appearances, with 90% of respondents saying they sometimes use a filter when posting a selfie.