Racially Themed Filters
The popular “FaceApp” has removed a series of racially-themed filters following a backlash against the app. Users branded the filters “problematic”, “gross” and even akin to “blackface”.
The popular app uses Snapchat-style face filters to transform users’ faces into different looks. It can make your face look older or younger, for example, or make a woman’s face look like a man’s. But in its most recent update, the app also added a series of “ethnicity change filters” called “Black,” “Asian,” “Indian,” or “Caucasian.
The new filters quickly attracted criticism on Twitter, where users branded them “problematic”, “racist”, “gross” and even akin to “blackface”.
FaceApp initially tried to defend the ethnicity filters from the barrage of controversy. The company released a statement in which they insisted that they had been “designed to be equal in all aspects”.
By late afternoon Wednesday, the app had removed the fliters. In a statement, FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov confirmed the filters were being removed but still defended them. He said “they don’t have any positive or negative connotations associated with them.”
“The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects,” Goncharov said. “They don’t have any positive or negative connotations associated with them. They are even represented by the same icon. In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order.”
However, less than 24 hours after launch, the filters are no longer available on FaceApp.FaceApp isn’t the only app to have come under fire for insensitive filters. Snapchat has also faced criticism for racially themed filters. They produced a Bob Marley-themed filter and another that was described as “digital yellowface.”