Snapchat is facing criticism as some users are reporting that the social media app’s photo filters are altering their skin tone to make it lighter.
The criticism surrounds Snapchat's “lenses,” which digitally alter the user’s face to add elements or erase blemishes. Some users feel that the “beautify” lens is “whitewashing” faces, or implying that black and brown skin tones are not attractive.
— Seventeen (@seventeen) May 17, 2016
Snapchat under fire over filter that lightens users' skin. pic.twitter.com/Zne1C7nEX8
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) May 17, 2016
— Romney Smith (@RomneyANjax) May 17, 2016
However, other users point out that the the lenses are merely changing the tone of the photo and the “whitewashing” is just a coincidence.
Conventional photography washes you out. Photo editing app filters make it worse. People look a lot different irl.
— jonathan frandzone (@NotAllBhas) May 13, 2016
Snapchat filters don't body shame/white wash anyone's skin. The whole picture is lighter. Don't want to shop out acne? Don't use the filter.
— Michael Couto (@themichaelcouto) May 17, 2016
This isn’t the first time that Snapchat’s lenses have faced criticism. Last month, the company debuted a “Bob Marely” lens on April 20 — just in time for marijuana holiday 420. Critics accused the app of belittling Marley’s legacy and pushing blackface on users.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.