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Google Removes Default Selfie Filters on Pixel Phones to Reduce Unhealthy Comparison

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Google has this week announced an important development in its approach to image editing, and filters applied to images taken via its Pixel device.

One of the key concerns in the modern digital age is comparison, and users matching themselves up, unfairly, against highly edited and crafted images of people online, which are often not representative of reality.

Various social platforms are already investigating ways in which they can address issues with comparison and filter-fatigue. And this week, Google has taken a significant step in its own approach to such, by announcing that it will be removing filters applied by default in selfie images taken on Pixel devices.

As explained by Google:

“We conducted multiple studies and spoke with child and mental health experts from around the world, and found that when people are not aware that a camera or photo app has applied a filter, the photos can negatively impact mental wellbeing. These default filters can quietly set a beauty standard that some people compare themselves against.”

As a result of its investigations, Google’s looking to make its filter usage more transparent, while it’s also removing references to ‘beauty’ in its retouching tools.

“Starting with the Pixel 4a, the new Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, face retouching options are available in the camera app, but turned off by default. In an upcoming update, you’ll see value-free, descriptive icons and labels for face retouching options. And if you choose to use face retouching effects, you’ll see more information about how each setting is applied and what changes it makes to your image.”

Pixel selfie

That may seem like a fairly minor step, but it’s significant in the broader battle against unrealistic comparison, especially with respect to younger, more impressionable users, who are increasingly conducting more of their personal interactions online.

Here’s one of the most important truths that people need to understand about social media and the content shared by people on social platforms: It is not necessarily representative of their reality.

In most cases, what you’re seeing on social media is a highlight reel, a collection of that person’s best moments, while leaving out all the bad, all the mundane, all the regular, everyday things that we all go through and experience, but we don’t necessarily want to be posting accompanied by a cute hashtag and a smiling emoji.

And that can make social media overwhelming. When you’re looking at all these holidays snaps and exercise photos from your former classmates, neighbors, work colleagues, etc. Inevitably, you’re going to compare yourself to these images – and that comparison, in many cases, will not be favorable. It can make you feel like a failure, it can make you feel ugly. But the underlying truth, in almost every case, is that the comparison you’re applying is simply not fair.

That’s why Stories offer a welcome relief from the perfection of crafted and curated Instagram selfies – because at least in Stories you get to see a small, often goofy snippet of someone’s life. That’s more relatable, and harder to polish and edit, because while you can still add filters to videos, you can’t use digital tools to change your personality. Short, quick videos humanize people, and reduce those unfair comparisons, which is why they’ve seen such a rise, and why, it could be argued that it’s actually important to have a Stories option on as many platforms as possible in order to balance out the fiction of our digital storybook lives.

TikTok clips are another example of the same trend. On TikTok, while there is still a concerning focus on beauty, there’s also an even bigger focus on creativity and fun, and not taking yourself too seriously. Sure, young girls wearing tight clothes still use the platform to farm for likes as a means of self-validation – which, given a third of TikTok users in the US are under 14 is a massive issue. But moving beyond the crafted selfie is part of the platform’s popularity, and part of social media culture more broadly, and the evolution of social networks.

And that’s an important shift – as with Google’s new experiment, we need to find ways to shift away from unrealistic representations of day to day life, in order to reduce the pressure on people to be perfect, to have perfect skin, to always be in shape, always be wearing the latest fashion, etc.

Because that’s not how life is. Especially right now, as we all work from home – in fact, I’m guessing most people reading this are wearing sweatpants with messy hair and tired eyes. Because that’s life, that’s reality, and social media has distorted that in many ways.

It now feels like there’s a renewed shift back to more accurate representation, which is why this new experiment from Google is an important, and valuable, step.   

Socialmediatoday.com

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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

A fed-up accountant has spoken of his “disappointment” after his Facebook page was taken down AGAIN. Last July, we told how Suleiman Krayem feared …

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Twitter Tests New Quick Boost Option for Tweets

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Twitter Tests New Quick Boost Option for Tweets

Here’s the difficult thing with Twitter no longer having a comms department – now, there’s nowhere to go to confirm info about the app’s latest updates and features, and where each is available, etc.

Case in point – this week, Twitter appears to have launched a new in-stream boost option for tweets, which provides a quick and easy way to promote your tweet without having to launch a full ad campaign.

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by Jonah Manzano (and shared by Matt Navarra), the new boost option would be available direct from a tweet. You’d simply tap through, select a budget, and you would be able to boost your tweet then and there.

Which seems to be new, but also seems familiar.

It’s sort of like Twitter’s Quick Promote option, but an even more streamlined version, with new visuals and a new UI for boosting a tweet direct from the details screen.

Tweet boost

So it does seem like a new addition – but again, with no one at Twitter to ask, it’s hard to confirm detail about the option.

But from what we can tell, this is a new Twitter ad process, which could provide another way to set an objective, a budget, and basic targeting parameters to reach a broader audience in the app.

Which could be good, depending on performance, and there may well be some tweets that you just want to quickly boost and push out to more people, without launching a full campaign.

It could also be a good way for Twitter to bring in a few more ad dollars, and it could be worth experimenting with to see what result you get, based on the simplified launch process.

If it’s available to you. We’d ask Twitter where this is being made available, but we can’t. So maybe you’ll see it in the app, maybe not.

Thus is the enigma of Twitter 2.0.



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Twitter faces lawsuit by advisory firm for $1.9 million in unpaid bills

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Twitter faces lawsuit by advisory firm for $1.9 million in unpaid bills

US-based advisory firm Innisfree M&A Incorporated sued Twitter on Friday in New York State Supreme Court, seeking about $1.9 million compensation for what it says are unpaid bills. Reuters File Photo

New York: US-based advisory firm Innisfree M&A Incorporated sued Twitter on Friday in New York State Supreme Court, seeking about $1.9 million compensation for what it says are unpaid bills after it advised the social media company on its acquisition by Elon Musk last year.

“As of December 23, 2022, Twitter remains in default of its obligations to Innisfree under the agreement in an amount of not less than $1,902,788.03,” the lawsuit said.

Twitter and a lawyer for Innisfree did not respond to queries.

Elon Musk in October closed the $44 billion deal announced in April that year and took over microblogging platform Twitter.

In January 2023, Britain’s Crown Estate, an independent commercial business that manages the property portfolio belonging to the monarchy, said that it had begun court proceedings against Twitter over alleged unpaid rent on its London headquarters.

Advertising spending on Twitter Inc dropped by 71% in December, data from an advertising research firm showed, as top advertisers slashed their spending on the social-media platform after Musk’s takeover.

The banks that had provided $13 billion in financing last year for the Tesla chief executive’s acquisition of Twitter abandoned plans to sell the debt to investors because of uncertainty around the social media company’s fortunes and losses, according to media reports.

Recently, Twitter made its first interest payment on a loan that banks provided to help finance Musk’s purchase of the social media company last year.

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