Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Electronics | By Jesus Weaver

FaceApp Accused Of Racism Thanks To New Ethnicity Filter

FaceApp Accused Of Racism Thanks To New Ethnicity Filter

CEO Yaroslav Goncharov responded in a statement Wednesday saying "the new controversial filters will be removed in the next few hours".

FaceApp, the popular phone app which allows users to digitally alter their selfies, released a new set of filters on Wednesday created to make the user look either Asian, black, caucasian or Indian.

"The ethnicity change filters have been created to be equal in all aspects", he explained. FaceApp is literally marketing the filters as different races. They are even represented by the same icon.

Using neural-network technology, the app can make you look younger or older, swap your gender, add a smile to your photo, and more.

Nonetheless, many across the web were outraged by FaceApp's decision to add "digital blackface" options, and the app got hammered all across social media. "In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order", he added. The "Asian" filter softened my features, broadening my nose a little and flattening my bulgy eyes. Lucy Yang/INSIDER FaceApp's "Black" filter. (Ed. note: I initially included the results in this post, along with the results from some of my colleagues, but they were so bad and discomfiting that I removed them and am instead just describing the horror for you.) The "Caucasian" filter gave me an unnatural pinkish hue, and added wrinkles under my eyes and along my smile lines. The "Indian" filter was practically the same as the original selfie.

"We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue", Goncharov told The Guardian in April. FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov stressed that any of the filters created to make people's faces look better would preserve the ethnicity of the user, while the "ethnicity change filters" were "designed to be equal in all aspects", Goncharov told TechCrunch in a statement.

And although FaceApp's "digital blackface" filter is receiving backlash now, it isn't the company or the industry's first run-in with racial stereotyping. While this may seem like harmless fun, it's important to keep in mind that blackface originated as a form of racist entertainment, rooted in harmful stereotypes. In 2016, Snapchat released a Bob Marley filter that made people look like the singer; it darkened the skin and gave users dreadlocks.

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