'What lies behind the filter?' Uncovering the motivations for using augmented reality (AR) face filters on social media and their effect on well-being

Ana Javornik, Ben Marder, Jennifer Brannon Barhorst, Graeme McLean, Yvonne Rogers, Paul Marshall, Luk Warlop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Augmented reality (AR) filters are a popular social media feature affording users a variety of visual effects. Despite their widespread use, no research to date has examined either 'why' people use them (i.e., motivations) or 'how' their usage makes people feel (i.e., well-being effects). Through the uses and gratifications theory supported by a sequential mixed-method approach (interviews N = 10 and survey N = 536), we provide three overarching contributions. First, based on prior literature and a qualitative study, we identify nine motivations that can potentially drive AR face filter usage on Instagram. Our survey indicates that seven of those motivations (e.g., creative content curation, social interactions) are significant drivers of usage behaviours, while two (true self-presentation and silliness) did not have a significant impact. Second, we provide nuanced insights into the multi-faceted nature of the self-presentation motives underpinning AR face filter use (ideal, true and transformed self-presentation). Lastly, we show filter usage can have both positive and negative well-being effects depending on the underlying motivation. The results offer important implications for policymakers, site designers and social media managers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107126
Number of pages15
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume128
Early online date13 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • augmented reality
  • face filter
  • social media
  • uses and gratifications
  • well-being
  • self-presentation

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