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Controversy over Coronavirus-Themed AR Instagram Filters

Controversy over Coronavirus-Themed AR Instagram Filters

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The coronavirus has been spreading across the globe, and some people are getting creative with it. Instagram users have recently created Augmented Reality (AR) filters on the popular social media image posting site that are coronavirus-themed.

While the users either believe that it's just a bit of fun or that they're helping to educate Instagrammers around the world about how to keep clean in order not to contract the virus, many others believe these are unnecessary and inappropriate.

Controversial filters

The AR coronavirus-themed effects can be applied to Instagram users' Stories, and range from green glowing face masks placed on the user's face, to coronavirus molecules floating around the screen.


Coronavirus-themed AR filters flood Instagram

— Rouut (@rouutnews) March 9, 2020

There are others that involved a box that "determines if you’ll contract or die from the coronavirus." Another filter example is one that covers the user's face with black sores, while another places the word 'coronavirus' in neon colors onto the person's face.

A little lighthearted help during a moment of crisis is sometimes needed.

Coronavirus: Instagram flooded with ‘inappropriate’ virus-themed filters

— Tommy Thompson (@TommyTh59496862) March 8, 2020

Even if these were created in a lighthearted manner, the AR filters are garnering a lot of controversial attention. Many social media users are dubbing them as inappropriate and insensitive. Given how many people around the world are currently suffering because of the coronavirus, it's easy to see why they think this.

However, some of the developers of the filters are sticking to their guns and stating that their posts can help people from spreading the coronavirus further. Some explain how to properly wash and keep your hands clean so as to minimize the spread, while others use their AR filters to show how coronavirus molecules stick to surfaces, and how to get rid of them.

Anyone can create their own AR filter on Instagram. All they have to do is use their Spark AR Studio platform and get creative.

As of Monday 9 March, the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, has already infected over 100,000 people worldwide and has resulted in the death of around 4,000 people.

Large attack on Instagram due to new Corona Virus filters

— EG 24 NEWS (@EG24NEWS) March 9, 2020

A note to our readers:
In the making of this article, we, as the Interesting Engineering team, also tried some of the coronavirus Instagram filters. Catch us above!