Snapchat users are concerned the app’s filters are making people look whiter.
Whilst snapchat filters are often revered for their ability to ‘beautify’ and ‘glamorise’ users with virtual makeup, covering blemishes and adding flower crowns, users have noticed some filters favour white complexions.
Avid snapchat user John Brann said, “those filters definitely make my face whiter…I doubt Snapchat will ever admit to it but their filters are implicitly racist…”
Users have also noticed filters enlargen the eyes, slim the nose and the jaw.
Snapchat user Mariah Zouroudis questions, “why do filters try to make me thinner and whiter?”
1994 leader of the research team that produced ‘Racism Ethnicity and the Media’ and Professor of Sociology Andrew Jakubowicz said, “There are all sorts of negative even if unintended consequences in societies where racial hierarchies exist and are valorised in the everyday world. A similar issue to this emerged when colour movies began…the film stock was graded for European white skins and completely obliterated detail in black faces.”
Whilst the film stock problem was eventually rectified, Snapchat hasn’t made any changes to their ‘whitewashing filters’ and Jakubowicz thinks he knows the reason why, “it took many years for the film stock ‘technical’ problem to be viewed as political, hence it took many years for the problem to be addressed.”
Jakubowicz added, “it didn’t mean once we could see black actors that the problems of racism were resolved as we saw in the black boycott of the Oscars discussed last year.”
Whilst Snapchat refrained from commenting, users certainly haven’t.
Users question why the design of social media shows animosity for multiculturalism, when the average number of snaps per second is 9000, and these snaps come from people of all different cultures and backgrounds.
Photo: Young girl before and after flower crown snapchat filter