A popular selfie-editing app, FaceApp, which was launched earlier this year and took the selfie world by storm, has come under fire for updating its interface with new filters which reportedly many users felt are racist.
The FaceApp gained widespread popularity as it used a trained algorithm to edit user pics. Using the app people could choose to edit their image in several different ways.
Users could add a smile to their image, get younger or older, change gender and even change your style.
But the addition of ‘India’, ‘Asian’, ‘Black’ and ‘Caucasian’ ethnic filters has proven to be detrimental to the app’s reputation. These filters would not only change the skin complexion and appearance but also the hair style and colour.
CEO Yaroslav Goncharov issued a statement: “the new controversial filters will be removed in the next few hours”.
Users will not need to update their apps from the Play Store to get rid of the new filters as they will be removed from FaceApp’s server.
“FaceApp’s ‘ethnicity filters’ are a pretty terrible idea. Like, maybe one of the worst ideas,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another user accused the company of “setting the bar for racist (augmented reality) with its awful new update”.
“The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects. They don’t have any positive or negative connotations associated with them. They are even represented by the same icon,” Yaroslav Goncharov told The Verge.
This isn’t the first time FaceApp has been subjected to criticism for being racist. Users had earlier reported that the ‘hot’ filter automatically lightened the skin tone in any picture.
During this incident, the company’s CEO came forward stating that this incident was caused because the algorithm was trained using images of people with fair complexion and as a result, the machine started associating ‘hot’ with fair complexion.