For welfare reasons, Google turns selfie filters off by default on Pixel phones

Google will now disable selfie filters by default on Pixel phones. The company says it does so because the filters could have an impact on mental health. Google also wants to phrase the filter options more neutrally, according to Google, it is now unclear to some users when a selfie filter is enabled on a phone. Multiple child and mental health experts tell Google that not knowing such a filter is enabled can have a negative impact on a user’s mental health. The default filters would “ quietly ” create a standard of beauty that some would compare to, which is why Google has set guidelines for users to become more aware of the uses and effects of selfie filters. This would allow users to choose whether and how they want to adjust their face. According to these guidelines, filters that adjust the face should be off by default. When filters are enabled, it must also be clear to the user that a filter is on. References to ‘beauty’ should also be avoided in filter options. Instead, icons and language should be neutral. This allows users to determine for themselves what the filters mean, according to Google. These guidelines are important, according to the company, because of the extensive use of selfies. More than seventy percent of all photos taken with an Android device would be a selfie, Google claims. In Google Photos, 24 billion photos would have been marked as selfies. Filters have also become increasingly popular in recent years, according to Google, with the Camera app on the new Pixel 4a phones and the Pixel 5 having selfie filters turned off by default. In an upcoming update, the selfie texts and icons will be replaced by more neutral variants. In addition, users also get more information about what a selfie filter does. Face retouching, for example, means that the skin texture, complexion under the eyes and the brightness of the eyes are adjusted. It is not known when this update should come. According to The Verge, Google switched on selfie filters as standard for the first time when the Pixel 4 was introduced last year.Update, 12:49 PM: Snapchat adheres to Google’s guidelines and says it wants to add more transparency about the filter and retouch effects in its app. Snapchat claims to have already used neutral terms.

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