FaceApp Accused Of Giving Users A Chance To Don Digital 'Blackface'


The filters, available in the free version of the app, allow users to upload a selfie and select an Asian, black, Caucasian or Native American filter. "In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order".

"The ethnicity change filters have been created to be equal in all aspects", he explained.

The online outrage was pretty much immediate, with one crowd arguing "It's just silly fun", and the other, much larger one labeling the app digital blackface. "They are even represented by the same icon", Goncharov wrote.

This morning, FaceApp users received a push notification informing them that Asian, Black, Caucasian and Indian filters had been added to the app.

FaceApp, an app that uses neural networks to transform your selfies in some rather eerie ways, has now introduced filters that promise to change your racial appearance.

FaceApp's "Asian" filter. Lucy Yang/INSIDER FaceApp's "Caucasian" filter.

In a statement to Cosmopolitan before the filters were removed, CEO Yaroslav Goncharov insisted they weren't racist. The "Indian" filter was practically the same as the original selfie.

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The app has already faced controversy for the short-lived "hot" filter that just lightened users skin, but this is a whole new level of fucked up. Lucy Yang/INSIDER FaceApp's "Black" filter.

You may remember when Snapchat came under fire for its Bob Marley filter, which some felt was essentially blackface.

"We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue", Goncharov told The Guardian in April.

The AI-based selfie editing tool FaceApp has released a batch of new smart filters created to swap the user's race.

In the name of self-loathing journalism and also curiosity about what these filters look like on people of color (blah blah hypocrisy), I downloaded FaceApp and applied the filters.

Even stranger, the app separates "Indian" from "Asian" into its own category yet still operates under the assumption that everyone else in Asia - from Pakistan to Japan, from South Asians to East Asians - all look alike.