The Brief: FaceTune is a photo editing app for quickly editing selfies.

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FaceTune has a free app called FaceTune2 and a premium app that costs $3.99. FaceTune2 has an option for users to subscribe to a full version for $5.99 per month. The apps have photo editing features including teeth whitening, red-eye remover, blemish erasers, filters, and more.

Face Tune And Self-Image

Photo editing raises issues of authenticity and perceived perfection online. As FaceTune makes tools for photo editing more accessible to the public, there is the possibility that the practice of editing or “perfecting” images will become an expectation rather than an option.

FaceTune can also be an empowering tool for people to be able to control their own image, especially if they are dealing with body dysmorphia. For some trans women, apps such as FaceTune allow them to curate images of themselves that reaffirm their femininity, especially if they cannot access gender reaffirming surgery. However, photo editing can also exacerbate body image issues for people who struggle with the dissonance between their edited images and the way their bodies look in the mirror.

Photo editing and perfecting is a hot-button issue as it moves from the realm of celebrities and magazines to become a tool available to anyone with a smartphone.

Another issue with FaceTune is that some people have been using it to alter the shape of their body in pictures, making them appear thinner, or with certain features enlarged. Although this does not line up with the intended purpose of FaceTune – to “tune” faces – it has become a common practice.

“We did not create FaceTune for body manipulations, but I’m not sure it’s our place to decide how people use the app…Social media is not a reality show, it’s a director’s cut of your life. Some people are more successful in creating that director’s cut than others.” -Zeev Farbman, CEO of FaceTune’s parent company 

Some plastic surgeons have reported that increasing numbers of patients request surgeries in order to look more like facetuned versions of themselves. This phenomenon, often called “Snapchat dysmorphia,”points to how issues with body image shift as technology does.

With all this in mind, FaceTune is not a great app for young, impressionable people to use. Media literacy plays an important role in helping people understand how the images they see online often do not match IRL appearances and realities.

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