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Face Beauty filters are bad for mental health, Google says

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Face Beauty features have been in phones for years. It lets you synthetically have a smoother face when taking selfies, as it removes pimples, wrinkles, freckles, and more. And with AI technology become mainstream, this software trick becomes a more prominent and smarter feature.

However, studies suggest that the face beauty feature has bad effects on the user’s mental health. With that, Google said that they will be turning off the feature by default in its Pixel phones and is also encouraging Android OEMs to follow suit.

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Google conducted multiple studies and seek the help of child and mental health experts across the globe. The studies show that, when the face beauty filter is on by default and you’re unaware, it silently sets a beauty standard that some people compare themselves against — thus negatively impacting one’s mental wellbeing.

With that, Google made a documentation for best practices for implementing face beauty filters — which recommends that they should be turned off by default.

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Google is also asking OEMs camera app developers to stop using terms like “beautification”. “touch up”, and “enhancement” as it implies that the unmodified image needs improving. Google suggests the use of “Face retouching” as a more neutral term.

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