AR: A Medium for Social Change

June 18, 2020 • Written by Allison Ferenci

AR: A Medium for Social Change

As social AR becomes an increasingly established part  of our daily lives, it has expanded to support all means of creative expression. The medium that first start out as puppy face filters is now being used in service of social change, with hundreds of millions of active users on Instagram and Snapchat.

In response to the recent killing of George Floyd and ensuing worldwide protests against police brutality, top creators and brands have released AR tools for civic action on social media. Below we’ve rounded up some of the most creative, powerful, and impactful AR effects we’ve seen in the past few weeks.

This Snapchat lens, built by Snap product manager Andrew McPhee, places a giant “Black Lives Matter” sign in the sky above the user. It’s been popping up at protests across the country.

Try this lens here.

Due to widespread reports that authorities collect and use facial recognition data from demonstrations to target protesters, many activists urge photographers and videographers to blur out the faces of protesters when they share images.

AR creator Spencer Burnham created an Instagram effect that automatically blurs out the faces of up to four people.

You can use his effect here

Recent Stanford University graduate and activist, Toni Adeyemi, created this unique twist on the popular “randomizer” trend on Instagram. Instead of showing you a favorite Disney character, or revealing what kind of carb you are, this effect cycles through different charities associated with Black Lives Matter.

Due to the effect being shared by celebrities, it quickly reached 2.5 million impressions in 48 hours.

Find some donation inspiration by using the effect here.

Want to try your hand at creating your own activism AR experience? Interactive media funding organization Kaleidoscope has created a grant program that awards a monthly cash prize to AR/VR projects that capture injustices in “real time.”

The submission deadline is June 29th, so head to the grant page for more information if you’re interested.


At Camera IQ, we strongly believe in using our platform — as well as the larger platform of social Augmented Reality — for good. We are always interested in supporting social justice non-profits and organizations to empower them to enact change using augmented reality. Please get in touch with us if we can help.

Header image: Kaleidoscope

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