FaceApp Launches A New Round Of Racist Filters: The App's Creator Even Defends The Controversial Move

By Aaron Mamiit | Aug 10, 2017 09:30 AM EDT

FaceApp, the controversial photo editing app that ran into racism allegations a few months ago, is back at it with a new batch of racist filters.

FaceApp uses artificial intelligence and neural networks to make its filters apply changes that are more natural and realistic. FaceApp creator and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov previously blamed the app's neural network for the racism issue, but that is not the case this time.

FaceApp's Racist Filters

FaceApp introduced Asian, Black, Caucasian, and Indian as its new filters, and from their names, most users already knew that there would be racist undertones.

The racist filters, as their names implied, made changes to selfies of people to make them look like one of the ethnicities by editing various features, including skin color and hair color. The Black filter, for example, made the person's lips larger. Amusingly, the Asian and Indian filters are separate, despite India being a part of Asia.

Goncharov, however, defended the racist filters, stating that they "have been designed to be equal in all aspects." The app's creator continued by saying that there are no positive or negative connotations associated with the filters, which are represented by one icon. Goncharov added that the order of the filters is shuffled for every picture that they are applied to.

The issue, however, is not the order that the filters appear in collages, or that they somehow have positive or negative connotations. The mere fact that they exist already carries racial insensitivity. Fortunately, Goncharov has listened to the backlash against the filters and has removed them from FaceApp.

FaceApp Racism Allegations

This is not the first time that FaceApp has been linked to racism, as it was the subject of such accusations in April for its so-called "hotness" filter.

The FaceApp filter, which was meant to apply a beautification process to people in selfies, made their skin tone lighter. The app was also found to be creating better images for people that have lighter skin.

Goncharov changed the name of the filter to "spark" to remove the hinted relationship of beauty and a lighter skin tone, but the controversial filter was eventually removed.

FaceApp is not the only app to have received accusations of racism for selfie filters, though. Snapchat, the app that started the trend of filters in the first place, was criticized on two separate occasions — in May last year for whitewashing faces and in August last year for a "yellowface" filter that superimposes exaggerated Asian features to selfies.

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