There’s a new filter gaining popularity on TikTok, and it’s equal parts impressive and terrifying. Basically, it superimposes a fake grin on top of users’ mouths, but it’s somehow able to make the grin look completely realistic, even matching the skin tone of the user’s face and lips. Appropriately enough, it’s called the Grinning Filter.
The effect is certainly freaky, but some people are even more freaked out by the fact that they’re completely unable to find and use the filter on their own TikTok account. As it turns out, there’s a completely non-creepy reason for this. It is kind of a bummer, though!
Can’t find the Grinning Filter on TikTok? Here’s why.
After watching a video of someone using the Grinning Filter, the first thing you’ll probably feel is a deep-seated sense of horror. There’s something very uncomfortable about watching someone smile when you know the smile is completely fake, and it’s also more than a little concerning how convincing the technology is able to make the grin look. Grinning Filter videos are an uncomfortable mix between the uncanny valley and deepfake technology, while also (sometimes!) being quite hilarious.
The second thing you’ll feel is probably a desire to try the filter out on your own video, whether that means taking a video of yourself grinning while your reflection in a mirror keeps a straight face, using the filter on a baby (and giving it terrifying teeth), or adding grins to static images of other people’s straight faces. There are a lot of options, each one more unsettling than the last.
Only, in some cases, you’re completely unable to use the Grinning Filter. If you go to the comment sections of some of the most popular Grinning Filter videos, you’ll see them flooded with many confused people. Some people ask how to use the filter, and others respond to say just “use the Grinning effect,” then those first people respond saying they can’t — so, what is going on?
In most cases, you’re able to see the specific effect someone uses in a TikTok video and simply tap the label in order to use it yourself. However, depending on where you live, that is not the case with the Grinning Filter. From what we can tell, the Grinning Filter is not available in the U.S., Canada, or Australia — and those are probably not the only countries that don’t have access to the filter.
If you live in a country where the Grinning Filter is available, then you’re in luck (kind of) because using the filter is actually super easy. Just open a video that uses the filter (you can do this easily by searching #grinningfilter or just #grinning tags), then tap the magic wand icon where it says “Grinning,” and you’ll be taken to the effect page where you can add it to your favorites and use it to your heart’s content.
While we can admit we’re pretty bummed not to be able to access the Grinning Filter in the U.S., there’s also a big part of us that’s relieved. We’ve already seen enough grinning baby videos to last us a few lifetimes.