Ben Gilbert/Business Insider
- Snapchat recently released new AR lenses that let users add traditionally female or male features to their visual appearance.
- People have started using the eerily convincing lens to trick friends and strangers into thinking they’re someone else.
- Some men have created Tinder profiles for women using their female-appearing filtered faces, and have started to realized the type of messages women often receive on dating apps.
- Since debuting the new lens, Snapchat has seen its app downloaded by an estimated seven million new users.
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Snapchat may have found a way to fight its decreasing popularity among teens with a new lens filter that’s getting a lot of attention from users.
The latest AR lenses from Snapchat allows users to change their appearance to include facial features that are traditionally male or female. For the male-appearing lens, that translates to adding a five-o-clock shadow, thicker eyebrows, a widened jawline, and attempt to blur out long hair. With the female-appearing filter, Snapchat adds smoother skin, thicker eyelashes, long hair, and a leaner face and jawline.
Looking on social media, the gender-changing filter seems to be particular popular among men. While the male-appearing filter on women does work, the female-appearing lens on men is must more realistic. Men have posted their transformed looks after applying the Snapchat filter, and it’s often hard to tell that it’s a digitally created female-appearing person.
Some people have already started to use the feature for slightly more nefarious purposes than just playing around with their appearances in Snapchat: Several men have posted online they’ve created fake Tinder profiles using their computer generated female-appearing faces, and have found success with their catfishing attempts.
These fake Tinder profiles have also brought to light the type of abuse many women are subjected to on dating apps. Some men have begun posting on Twitter about how their female-appearing profiles were inundated with matches and often-vulgar messages from male suitors.
"I made a Tinder using that female Snapchat filter and holy f— did I make a mistake," one Twitter user wrote.
Even "Catfish" host Nev Schulman got in on the fun, and lamented at how the filter was "really, really not good."
Still, since its debut, the feature has been wildly popular.
Many on social media have posted saying they’ve re-downloaded Snapchat or created a new account just to be able to use the new filter. In the five days since Snapchat rolled out the new lens filter, seven million people across iPhone and Android have installed the Snapchat app for the first time, according to data from Sensor Tower.
That’s a huge increase above how many new users Snapchat usually draws in: During the same five-day time span a week before, Sensor Tower reports the app was only downloaded three million times, which means there’s been a 133% increase in the amount of new Snapchat downloads, a significant jump for an app that has been seeing its daily user base shrink.
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