Augmented Reality (AR) and Location Filters have become a mainstay of the social media camera. Snapchat started and Instagram, Facebook quickly followed suit, and before you know it, we’re all posting images and videos of ourselves with animated beards, mustaches, and hats. Your favorite fancy additions to your photos have always been created by select developers or advertisers so that those who run our favorite social media outlets can keep tabs on what’s being allowed on their platform. That has now, officially, changed. Facebook has opened up their public Filter and AR creator tools.
“Starting today, we’re expanding availability of the platform and the AR Studio creative tool to everyone.” – https://www.facebook.com/FacebookforDevelopers/
It’s truly as simple as going to the facebook developers site and downloading the AR software. Making non-AR overlays is even easier. The tool is built into the website. You simply upload your images and move them around wherever you’d like on the screen. You can use the tools to resize and edit your image as well as to remove the background so you get a transparent effect. While making a 3D mask takes some coding and design experience, making an overlay is a pretty simple process that just about anyone should be able to do.
What Parents Should Know
Obviously, there is no stopping the “AR train.” We all love taking photos with those crazy filters and it’s so neat to put some strange creature on your countertop and film it playing the guitar. Until now, we could trust that content being posted as filters on the Facebook camera had been created by legitimate developers and didn’t contain anything that wasn’t allowed by Facebook’s guidelines. Allowing public access to these tools basically makes filters and AR User Generated Content. I made one for FamilyTechBlog in about six minutes. There was no approval process (as far as I could tell) which leads me to believe that inappropriate content will only be identified by a “user flag and review” system. This could lead to who knows what kind of violent or adult-oriented filters showing up on our Facebook (and most likely eventually Instagram) camera.
My advice for parents is to continue to talk to your kids about what content they use and see on their social media accounts. User Generated Content means that most of what has been posted hasn’t been edited or reviewed by anyone who can pull down non-approved posts. Algorithms and a flag system can only get so far in protecting our families from dangerous content. Parents should always be seeing what is posted by their kids and what their kids are seeing in the apps they use.