Object 3: Facetune

May 26, 2021

Object 3: Facetune

This object is the combination of an original photograph and a “facetuned” version of it. The FaceTune app was developed by LightTricks (2013) to allow users to edit their physical appearances in photographs. The 2 images above exemplify how a woman could edit her appearances, and thus the drastic yet realistic visually perceptible differences between them.2 Exploring these differences is interesting from a TOK perspective as they highlight how firstly technology can be used to capture a true visual representation of someone, but secondly how it can be used to create a false representation in a manner that seems reliable. Technology can be used to communicate false, visually acquired knowledge convincingly and thus influence how we learn about our world through generated images.

A knowledge feature is the mechanism and/or ways of knowing through which it is produced and/or communicated. To what extent an image is reliable is a subjective judgement. The images generated by FaceTune may seem reliable as they are viewed through individuals’ sense perception meaning that individuals produce knowledge from what they see. Humans often trust what they see through experience as reliable, for example if one person was to only see the edited image and not the original then it would lead them to believe that is how the person looks

A feature impacting judgments of reliability is a learner’s pre-existing knowledge of a subject or the technology used to produce claims. The FaceTune image within this chosen object may be deemed unreliable by those who saw the original photograph, personally know the subject or can identify FaceTune images from tell-tale signs. Pre-existing rational knowledge of a technology and its capabilities can impact how someone judges whether or not a knowledge source and claim is reliable. This object’s combination of an original photograph with its FaceTuned version highlights how real world knowledge issues arise when when images are judged reliable by viewers with no pre-existing knowledge of photographed individuals, especially when used for official identification purposes.


  1. TRUMP TWEET – Cbsnews.com. 2020. Trump falsely claims he won the election; Twitter flags the tweet. [online] Available at: <https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump- tweet-claims-he-won-election-twitter-flags/> [Accessed 9 April 2021].
  2. Google Translate Translate.google.co.uk. n.d. Before you continue. [online] Available at: <https://translate.google.co.uk> [Accessed 9 April 2021].
  3. FACETUNED IMAGE – Insider. 2020. I asked influencers to edit my selfies and turn me into an entirely different person, and it just reminded me how damaging it is to chase an unattainable idea of perfection. [online] Available at: <https:// www.insider.com/influencers-edited-my-photos-to-make-me-look-completely- different-2020-6> [Accessed 6 April 2021].
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