Augmented RealityEditor's Pick

Augmented Reality in Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Augmented reality is creating both positive and negative experiences on social media.


Social media has changed our lives forever, particularly the way we communicate and interact as a society. As augmented reality gradually reshapes social networks, we can’t help but ask: how will AR affect us all?

An app called Spotselfie has been using AR to enhance the online experience by blurring the divide between the real and virtual world. For instance, you walk into a room full of people. You whip out your smartphone and open the app. Using GPS location, the app lets you view the social media profiles of the people around you.

Let’s take a closer look at this new app, as well as the rising concerns for AR in social media.

The Applications of Augmented Reality in Social Media

Many social media users see AR as a fun and engaging tool that brings us cute photo filters and interactive games. While these experiences might seem like harmless fun, we should all be concerned about giving AR apps access to personal information and private spaces.

Lately, we’ve been starting to see a glimpse of the future of AR in social media. Spotselfie, as mentioned, enables you to find a person’s social media profile if they’ve enabled the GPS location setting on their account.

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In a statement to ARPost, Spotselfie shared that privacy is one of their primary concerns. Users will be in full control of their privacy. That means they can control who sees their profile, photos, and information in AR. Simply put, a stranger won’t be able to access your AR profile without your consent.

According to Spotselfie, their privacy policies set them apart from other social networks. They say that user data will “never be shared with a third party.” They won’t track users’ social history, posts, and comments. They also won’t share user data with advertisers because they don’t run ads on the platform.

Since Spotselfie is the first of its kind, it’s too early to determine the impact of AR social networks on online communities. While it might be committed to protecting its users’ data, we can’t say for sure about future AR platforms. Perhaps with strict age restrictions, privacy regulations, and community guidelines, AR might enhance the social media experience without compromising our safety.

Why Should Augmented Reality Concern Us?

AR is an exciting piece of technology, but it comes with a growing set of problems, mostly involving privacy. We are no longer referring to social networks that collect user data, scammers, hackers, and the like. By this, we mean the oversharing of personal information online.

Social media has, without a doubt, changed society forever. Sure, it has its advantages. It lets you stay in touch with friends and family from all over the world—but it isn’t without drawbacks. The most apparent is our increased need to share our lives online. Far too often, we feel the urge to post about what goes on in our day. Even when we aren’t asked to, we feel the need to do so.

AR might amplify this need to curate our lives around our perceived sense of perfection, especially as its effects and filters become more advanced. Now, the question is: how will these carefully curated digital profiles affect us? Will it further create a divide between our online life and our real life?

Another area of concern has to do with human connections. AR is already changing the way we interact with people. Instead of striking up a conversation with a stranger, you can now use AR to search them online and message them. So, will it harm our ability to connect in person? Or will it make us more connected?

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Is Augmented Reality the Future of Social Media?

Augmented reality will continue to be a huge part of social media in the coming years, whether in the form of games or filters. And, if AR social networks put the privacy and security of their users first, we might even see more platforms like Spotselfie in the years to come.

There’s also no doubt in our mind that AR will continue to reshape the way we communicate and interact. However, its effects don’t necessarily have to be negative. As consumers, we have the power to change the way it affects us. Whether our concerns have to do with data security, social curation, or human connection, we should make a conscious decision to control our usage of social platforms and of AR.


NOTE: Article edited on April 21 with clarifications and statements from Spotselfie.

Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing. If you have a story suggestion for Geri, you may contact her here.