Snapchat criticised over 'filters' which appear to 'whitewash' users' skin

Some users said the filters were a form of 'whitewashing'

Wednesday 18 May 2016 16:23 BST
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Picture messaging app Snapchat has come under fire for allegedly 'whitewashing' users' skin tones in selfies.

Some Snapchat users have said that a number of the app's 'filters', which overlay images on their selfies, appear to lighten their skin.

The 'flower crown' filter has received some criticism, for making users look whiter. However, this filter increases the brightness of the entire image, not just the user's face.

More complaints have been levelled at the 'beautifying' filters, some of which enlarge the user's eyes, slim down some of their features, and make the skin appear much lighter and blemish-free.

The critics say that the filters promote a negative body image by equating 'beauty' with pale, white, clear skin.

Much of the outrage has taken place on social media. One Twitter user wrote: "Snapchat made those 'beautifying' filters to make you hate yourself."

Another said: "The 'beautifying' Snapchat filter is bad for my mental health. Makes me look like an alien changeling and I still prefer it to my actual face."

Not everyone hates the filters, however. One user said: "All this controversy about the 'pretty' Snapchat filter making people 'whiter', but I'm so pale it actually makes me more tanned..."

It isn't the first time that Snapchat has provoked the anger of its users with a simple filter. The company released a special 'Bob Marley' filter on 20 April, a date which has special significance in cannabis culture.

By releasing the Marley filter on that day, critics said Snapchat reduced the iconic reggae singer to nothing more than a 'stoner stereotype'.

The Independent has contacted Snapchat for comment.

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