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Is the Inverted Filter on TikTok How Others See You?

Photo by Vale Zmeykov / Unsplash

Have you ever wondered how others see you? It’s a question that lingers in our minds, especially when we see an unflattering photo or attempt a natural selfie. We’re used to seeing ourselves through reversed images on screens or mirrors, but that’s not how the world views us.

The inverted filter on TikTok has made many wonder how they really look. Many have shared their reactions after using it. Some felt emotional, others were shocked, and many noticed asymmetries in their features like uneven eyebrows or jawlines. But is the inverted filter accurate?

Do People See You Inverted?

Credit: Vice

When you look in a mirror, what you see is actually a reversed image of yourself. However, in real life, people see your image unflipped or the opposite of your mirror reflection. This means that features you’re used to seeing on one side of your face appear on the opposite side to others. That’s why the TikTok inverted filter was created in the first place.

It’s common to prefer your mirror image because that’s the version of yourself you’re most familiar with. Your mirrored image can seem strange in pictures and filters. This aligns with the mere exposure effect, which suggests that we usually like things more when we see them often.

Research has also shown that most people prefer how they appear in a mirror, but their partner and friends like how they look in regular photos more.

Which Is More Accurate: The Mirror or Photos?

Fun fact: mirrors offer a more accurate reflection than photos. Sure, mirrors reverse your image, but they are less influenced by external factors that can distort your appearance. A mirror shows you a reflection of yourself without any additional alterations. Meanwhile, a camera is affected by factors such as quality, lens size, and angle.

Mirrors provide a dynamic 3D view of yourself, which is closer to how others see you. Also, people find others more appealing when they are moving rather than captured in a static photo.

So, if you’ve ever felt confident in the mirror but puzzled by how you looked in photos, it’s likely because of the camera’s distortions rather than your actual appearance.

How Does the Inverted TikTok Filter Work?

The inverted filter on TikTok flips your image horizontally and creates a mirror-like effect where your left side becomes your right side and vice versa. This filter is designed to show you how you would appear if you were looking at yourself in a mirror. This is in contrast to a typical photograph or video where your image is not flipped.

This filter has gained popularity on TikTok, with users experimenting with it to see themselves from a different perspective.

The reception of the Inverted TikTok filter has been mixed, with both positive and negative reactions. However, from a technical perspective, there isn’t much to discuss about how the filter works.

How to Use the Inverted Camera Filter

If you’re curious about trying the filter, follow these steps (but be cautious, as it might have a strong impact on your perception).

  1. Open TikTok and go to Discover.
  2. Type Inverted in the search bar at the top.
  3. Look for the Inverted option under Effects.
  4. Tap it and then hit the red camera button below.
  5. Start recording, and tap the screen to activate the inverted effect.

There are many versions of the inverted filter to try out, each with slightly different effects.

Negative Impact of the Inverted Filter

Many users reported strong reactions to the inverted filter. Some mentioned feeling deeply impacted emotionally, with one user expressing how it affected their confidence. Another user shared a humorous anecdote about calling their dentist after 13 years because of an inverted filter mishap and joking about needing jaw surgery.

Also, one user shared their experience where the filter was as a wake-up call. They now take measures to hide parts of their faces during calls and prefer using Snapchat because it presents their image in a way they find more comfortable.

That’s all very unfortunate. The reactions to the filter show a troubling aspect of social media. Many users feel inadequate as they compare themselves to the unrealistic standards and curated images prevalent on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. While some joke about the filter’s effects, we shouldn’t ignore what it does to people’s self-esteem and confidence.

Of course, if a TikTok user comes across content they want to avoid, they can long-press a video and choose Not Interested to limit similar content. However, for younger users, it can be tough to resist joining in on popular trends discussed among friends. Being constantly reminded of our shortcomings is tough, no matter how old or confident we are.

An Empowering Wave: Alternative Reactions

Some videos from this trend offer a different perspective. For example, one user pointed out that asymmetrical faces should be celebrated rather than criticized. There is a wave of people who think that we should normalize asymmetry. One powerful metaphor is the beauty of a rose, which is inherently asymmetrical.

Similarly, John Walter, the creator of the True Mirror, believes his invention can break this cycle. It’s not a regular mirror that reverses our image; the True Mirror shows how we’re seen by others without distortion.

Walter suggests that this genuine reflection helps us communicate better with ourselves and enhances our self-perception. He envisions the True Mirror becoming a tool for personal growth, especially for children who are still developing their self-image. Walter hopes to introduce the True Mirror into schools and psychological research labs to promote a healthier self-perception and enhance communication skills.

Is It All That Bad?

As you can tell by now, the inverted filter on TikTok has sparked different reactions among users. And it’s not all negative.

Some find it helpful for understanding their appearance better or improving their poses for photos and videos. Others see it as a fun tool for experimenting with different looks. Some users find empowerment in embracing their unique features, and some simply enjoy the filter’s novelty without feeling the need to change anything.

Overall, the filter’s impact varies based on individual preferences and goals. It’s important to be self-aware about how filters might affect your self-perception. And remember: don’t underestimate the impact social media can have on your thoughts and feelings.

Other Uses of the Inverted Filter

Why don’t we change gears from “do people see me inverted?” Why not experiment with other applications of the inverted filter? After all, it’s not just limited to flipping faces.

  • Artistic videos — Flip scenes or objects for an artistic and surreal touch to your content, like a familiar landscape or a cityscape. Or you can flip the scene sideways, making, for example, the sky and water change places.
  • Text effects — Use the filter to flip text in your videos or images for a fun way to play with typography and design.
  • Lip-sync or music videos — Switch between normal and inverted views quickly to add a dynamic, engaging vibe to your performance.
  • Comedy skits — Create funny skits using the inverted filter where you switch between characters in a funny dialogue.

The idea is that there’s much more you can do with the inverted filter. If face-flipping doesn’t interest you, try flipping other things instead.

Final Thoughts

Aubrey Ober, a social media personality, spoke out against the negative impact of the inverted filter. She regularly posts TikTok videos using the filter and writes in her captions: “You’re beautiful regardless of symmetry.” Through her TikTok content, she encourages others to accept imperfections and not take filters too seriously.

Is the inverted filter how others see you? Maybe, but it shouldn’t matter.

Overall, trying to define ourselves solely based on our appearance leads to obsession and financial strain. Dr. Rutledge, an expert in psychology and the effects of media and technology on society, emphasizes that our identity goes beyond just how we look. She advises against tying our self-esteem to shallow criteria pushed by visual media. That could be the best way to see it.


Why do I look so different inverted?

Seeing your inverted image can make your features stand out more because it’s not what you normally see. This emphasizes any differences or asymmetry in your face. If you weren’t aware of them, you could feel like you look strange or distorted.

Do people see your Tiktoks inverted?

Yes, when you record a video on TikTok using the front-facing camera, it appears flipped or mirrored while you’re recording. However, once the video is processed and posted, it appears normal to viewers, not flipped or inverted.