Instagram's Creepy Selfie Makeover Ambush Is Not Okay



carrie-nelson-photoshop-fantasy-instagramPhoto: Via Instagram


The selfie is possibly the most infamous by-product of Instagram. In fact, the selfie is such a phenomenon that the word just elbowed its way into the Oxford English Dictionary. But, a creepy new account called Photoshop Fantasy is taking people's mugs and giving them questionably racist makeovers — and there's nothing you can do about it.

Carrie Nelson, a writer for The Frisky, found this out personally. A selfie she posted was taken by Photoshop Fantasy and given a digital makeover — one that made her lips pinker, her lashes longer, and her brows groomed. In other images, a black woman had her skin majorly lightened and an Asian woman had her eyes made bigger and more round.

If having your face contorted sounds like a serious breach of privacy, surprisingly, Instagram's terms of service makes public photos posted on the site fair game. Nelson and the other woman whose picture has been on Photoshop Fantasy don't have a lot of options in terms of proprietary rights.

"I'm well aware that plagiarism and image appropriation are rampant on the Internet," Carrie wrote. "I know that, with each photo I post on Facebook or Instagram (the latter of which is owned by Facebook), I am consenting to have my images in ads...Still, the knowledge that these problems exist does not make them ethical, nor should it make us complacent."

Carrie left a comment on Photoshop Fantasy, asking them to take down her photo. So far, she's gotten zero response. And, unfortunately, that's about the only thing she can do. (She did report Photoshop Fantasy as a spam account.)

Luckily, as a writer, Carrie has the opportunity to talk about the incident and give people the heads up about Photoshop Fantasy's existence. And, while she describes the incident as weird, it won't scare her away from the Internet. "I will absolutely post selfies in the future," she told Refinery29. "This entire incident has made me firmly pro-selfie, as an act of defiance. I'm considering making my account private, but I believe in the empowerment of selfies, and I will continue to post them."

UPDATE: The Photoshop Fantasy Instagram account has removed Nelson's picture. They also posted the following apology:

"Hello lovely followers! We want to apologize for the inconveniences this account has caused with the unadvised photoshops. We deleted them and promise to not do these again without permission. What we did was wrong and we are sorry, and we certainly didn't intend to hurt anyone. Thank you for your comprehension!"

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