Global Times Mobile
Beauty is skin deep, but outer beauty seems to have subtly nudged out what lies beneath. People are judged by every digital outing they take on social media's shores.

Smartphones made it easy for people to click and post their photos everywhere. But move over camera; apps are ready to take over. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of or already use apps like Meitu and Beautycam. They are light-years ahead of smartphone cameras with their humble filters. With beauty apps, one can shop for whichever version of yourself you fancy. Fairer skin, a smaller jawline, double eyelids, you can create them all.

Meitu has 456 million active monthly users globally and has the most active users in Asia. Its popularity shows the bizarre boundaries of beauty. People spend hours sprucing up their selfies.

I admit sometimes it's alright to have fun exploring the various facets of your face. Sometimes you may even want to check the suitability of a makeup shade on your face via an app before trying it on in real life.

Practical usability aside, the desire to look like an anime character, which is hugely popular thanks to Japanese manga comics, or adding bunny ears among other things to your pics does sound like some harmless fun. The trouble starts when reality becomes a cloudy haze and virtual reality takes over.

People know how you look in real life. So if your pictures look like a different person, won't that cause a problem? Many girls cannot post a single picture without retouching it in an app. This then becomes a psychological issue because their self-confidence to face the world comes from filters.

There are privacy concerns too. Meitu and Beautycam are free apps, but your freedom might be at risk. Several tech reviewers have pointed out that Meitu infringes on the privacy of its users by asking for unnecessary details and accessing your phone's private data, for example, its international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) or GPS location that can be sold to third parties. Surely, a beauty app doesn't need to know your phone's ID or GPS location to better your pout!

The key takeaway is that one's safety is in one's hands. Also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is best to be comfortable in your skin.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.