FaceApp Accused Of Racism Thanks To New Ethnicity Filter

The makers of the app say the filters have no "positive or negative connotations."

UPDATE: 5:11 p.m. ― FaceApp founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov told HuffPost that “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 designed to make the user look either Asian, black, caucasian or Indian. Needless to say, people are not impressed.

According to Engadget, the FaceApp originally just had filters to add a smile, make a user look older or younger, and change gender using its “deep learning technologies.” But with the new update, users can see what they look like with deeper or lighter skin, and facial features usually associated with specific ethnicities.

The app has been charged with giving people access to digital blackface brownface, and yellowface. Social media users have (perhaps counterintuitively) began posting selfies of themselves using the app in order to highlight what many are calling a racist app:

Others are pointing out that the app filters are not OK:

This is not the first time FaceApp has faced criticism over racial insensitivity. In April, the app was forced to delete a “hot” filter which essentially made users appear more white.

In a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday, FaceApp founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov said that the new filters do not have racist intentions.

“The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects,” Goncharov explained.

“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.”

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