Young users share troubling realization about popular TikTok feature: 'I am super uncomfortable'

·2 min read

While using TikTok’s popular Live feature to speak to fans in real-time, a number of users noticed their faces were warped though they hadn’t specifically chosen to apply a filter. 

According to MIT Technology Review, user Tori Dawn pointed out the unexpected effect in a viral post. 

“That’s not my face,” they said, according to the publication, as they noted a slimmer and more feminine-looking face. They said they were struck by the appearance of their jawline, which is usually androgynous. 

“Congrats TikTok, I am super uncomfortable and dysphoric now because of whatever the f*** this s*** is,” they said in the caption of a post. 

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Dawn wasn’t alone. A number of users shared posts like this in May 2021, as people began noting slight changes to their faces. Some wondered if the company was applying a secret beauty filter to try to make users look more appealing to their audiences.

User @nessa.may8 found that when she clicked the “enhance” button before going live on TikTok, the app had automatically applied a smoothing filter, adjusted her eyes and trimmed her chin. She urged her audience to check what levels TikTok altered for them. 

After a reporter from MIT Technology review reached out to TikTok, the effect stopped appearing. The company acknowledged the switch in a short statement that merely said that it was an issue that had been resolved.

Though there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best for your audience, experts say exposure to filters applied to your own face and the faces of others can negatively impact mental health. When people strive for perfection, they will always fall short, and that can feel like a devastating failure. 

Regardless of your take on filters, it’s safe to say that it’s best that TikTok and all other platforms should allow users the option to turn them off and on and keep an eye out for glitches that might affect users self-image. 

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