Citation record for Incident 60

Suggested citation format

Yampolskiy, Roman. (2017-04-25) Incident Number 60. in McGregor, S. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Responsible AI Collaborative.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Editors
60
23
2017-04-25
Sean McGregor

CSET Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

FaceApp, which uses facial recognition to change users' expressions and look, received a storm of criticism after releasing its new "black", "white", "Asian" and "Indian" filters. It received backlash on social media who described it as "racist" and "offensive". The photo editing app, which uses neural networks to modify pictures of people while keeping them realistic, was also criticized for the fact that its "hot" filter often lightens the skin of people with darker complexions.

Short Description

FaceApp is criticized for offering racist filters.

Severity

Negligible

Harm Distribution Basis

Race

Harm Type

Psychological harm

AI System Description

The facial recognition algorithm used by FaceApp, based on deep generative convolutional neural networks, which can edit selfies using filters and other tools.

System Developer

FaceApp

Sector of Deployment

Arts, entertainment and recreation

Relevant AI functions

Unclear

AI Techniques

Facial recognition, convolutional neural networks

AI Applications

Facial recognition, image generation

Location

Global

Named Entities

FaceApp, Russia

Technology Purveyor

FaceApp

Beginning Date

08/2017

Ending Date

08/2017

Near Miss

Unclear/unknown

Intent

Unclear

Lives Lost

No

Data Inputs

Photos of faces

Incidents Reports

A viral app that adds filters to users' selfies to change their appearance has backtracked on its latest update after was accused of racism over its new range of ethnic filters.

FaceApp, which uses facial recognition to change users' expressions and look, deleted its new "black", "white", "Asian" and "Indian" filters following a storm of criticism.

The update was met with an instant backlash from users on social media, who described it as "racist" and "offensive".

The filter drew comparison with "blackface" and "yellowface", the practice of white people donning makeup and dress to appear to be of a different ethnicity. The controversial practice is often associated with racist stereotypes.

FaceApp deletes new black, white and Asian filters after racism storm

People who actually want to see their faces reflected in their phone screens have been having fun with FaceApp recently, with Facebook and Twitter currently overloaded with images of users sharing what they look like young, old and "hot" as adapted by the app's filters.

Which is all harmless, self-loving fun, but for the fact that the "hot" image is becoming something of a problem for the app's maker, as users with darker skin are finding out that all it really does is slim down their features and turn them white. Which is really quite awkward and is resulting in some top tier public relations disaster tweets like this:

So I downloaded this app and decided to pick the "hot" filter not knowing that it would make me white. It's 2017, c'mon guys smh#FaceApp pic.twitter.com/9U9dv9JuCm — Shahquelle L. (@RealMoseby96) April 20, 2017

It also deletes glasses as it thinks all glasses-wearers are losers. The app maker isn't taking responsibility for it either, and is instead blubbering about problems with machine learning and the neural network. He told the BBC that: "We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue. It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour."

So they accidentally created a racist computer and you have to be angry with the computer, OK? And instead of fixing it, they've simply renamed the feature from "hot" to "spark."

FaceApp Blames AI for Whitening up Black People

The makers of a face-morphing app have apologised after users accused them of creating a "racist" filter.

FaceApp can change portraits to make people look older, change gender or become "more attractive".

But when users with darker skin tones apply the "hot" filter to pictures, they say the app lightened their faces.

Reviews online also suggested users had seen their skin become lighter when trying this option.

"On a picture of a friend of mine it lightened her skin, took away her glasses, and changed all of her features so that she was unrecognisable," one reviewer wrote.

"Overall, this app only fully works for white men who don't wear glasses."

Yaroslav Goncharov, CEO and founder of the company which makes the app, has issued an apology.

"We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue," he said in a statement given to Newsbeat.

"It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour."

The "neural network" is a computer system modelled on the human brain and nervous system.

FaceApp uses artificial intelligence to morph faces by merging facial features.

"To mitigate the issue, we have renamed the effect to exclude any positive connotation associated with it," said Mr Goncharov.

"We are also working on the complete fix that should arrive soon."

The "hot" filter is now known as "spark" on FaceApp, however it still has the effect of lightening the skin.

Other apps have been criticised in the past for filtering skin colour.

A controversial Snapchat face filter drew outrage from thousands of users, who described it as a "racist" caricature of East Asians.

Described as "yellowface" by angry users, it contorted facial features and gave users the appearance of slanted eyes.

Find us on Instagram at BBCNewsbeat and follow us on Snapchat, search for bbc_newsbeat

FaceApp sorry for 'racist' filter that lightens skin to make users 'hot'

Looks like FaceApp, the new face-morphing craze, already needs a makeover.

Launched in January and hailing from Russia, FaceApp is catching interest for its artificial intelligence technology and intriguing filters that can make you look older, younger, or a different gender. It uses “deep generative convolutional neural networks” to edit selfies in a way that looks real, like adding small details around your eyes and mouth to create a natural grin.

Unfortunately, the app also makes you whit- I mean, hotter, too. Check out what happens when you use the “hot” filter.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTTxi0Gg-dL/

Why does #faceapp hot feature make me white? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/OsSs5wlUSX — PLANET LYNX (@PLANETLYNX) January 28, 2017

https://twitter.com/sarjun/status/826244655842856960

Faceapp made me hot by turning me white…cool #FaceApp pic.twitter.com/JFxSsjIsXj — Dark Bomber (Eddie) (@DarkBomberX) April 10, 2017

So this app is apparently racist as hell. But at least I'm sassy. #faceapp A post shared by Khary Randolph (@kharyrandolph) on Apr 18, 2017 at 6:50am PDT

The app also appears to completely change certain features under that same “hot” filter, removing glasses, as well as masking faces with European features.

#faceapp removes glasses and replaces eyes. With white people eyes. 😐 pic.twitter.com/mUgrcrXds1 — Three Large Spiders in a Trenchcoat (@littlebunnyfu) April 18, 2017

https://twitter.com/tweeterrance/status/854766266094985216

The #FaceApp idea of making me hot is making me white. That's racist as hell pic.twitter.com/6z3kcLn42V — MiddleC (@The_MiddleC) April 21, 2017

According to #faceapp, the 'hot' version of me is a white version of me. pic.twitter.com/1uQIkEKF6x — Omar Khan (@omarthebeard) April 21, 2017

Of course, this visible lightening under a filter called “hot” insinuates several things: that Eurocentric features such as narrow noses and white skin are the ultimate standard of hot, and that being any shade of darker skin is decidedly not hot at all, perpetuating this idea that skin color determines a person’s value.

FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov has since apologized for the app’s whitewashing, issuing a statement to the FADER acknowledging the app’s criticisms.

“We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue,” Goncharov’s statement read. “It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior.”

Much like Snapchat’s pitfalls of “whitewashing filters” and Google Photos’ automatic classification of pictures of black people as animals, it appears that FaceApp’s “training set bias” issue isn’t unique to the new app, nor will be the last time we encounter a racist face-detection feature. But Goncharov has already launched an attempt to reverse this offense.

The founder and CEO told the FADER that a fix is being done on the feature, but in the meantime, FaceApp’s “hot” filter will be called “spark” to erase any positive connotations. The change has already taken affect within the app, though it appears that the iPhone app was last updated April 17—and the “spark” filter still lightens skin.

H/T the FADER

FaceApp CEO Apologizes For Whitening Skin With 'Hot' Filter

Twitter/Terrance AB Johnson

It happened—a tech company did a bad thing again. This time, it's the super popular face-morphing app called, wait for it…FaceApp.

For some reason unknown to me, FaceApp went gangbusters this week after launching in late January. Its offerings are fairly simple, but allegedly technologically impressive.

The Russian-based app "uses neural networks to modify a face on any photo while keeping it photorealistic. For example, it can add a smile, change gender and age, or just make you more attractive," its CEO and founder Yaroslav Goncharov told TechCrunch. Wow, cool.

Only, according to some purported FaceApp users, the beautification process apparently involves lightening your skin tone, and making your features more European-looking. Uhhhh.

Users have been sharing evidence on Twitter of what happens when people of color select FaceApp's "Hot" filter. In many cases, the app more or less re-skins their faces.

"Why is the option to make yourself look 'hot' actually a filter to change your skin tone," wrote one App Store reviewer who gave FaceApp one star. "Is this to say that black people aren't 'hot'???"

"I'm African-American and this app was not very good for me. 4/5 of the options was just a white person's face poster over my own and it didn't blend together very well," wrote another.

It seems the company caught on and recently renamed its "Hot" filter to "Spark." The new feature still visibly lightens your skin.

"We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue. It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior. To mitigate the issue, we have renamed the effect to exclude any positive connotation associated with it. We are also working on the complete fix that should arrive soon," Goncharov told me in an email.

Other photo apps have fucked up, too. Last year, Snapchat debuted an "anime" filter that was grossly similar to the yellowface caricature of Asians. And its 4/20 Bob Marley filter caused many to accuse Snapchat of promoting blackface.

Will this be the last time a tech company is inexcusably unaware of its own whiteness? Almost certainly not. Until next time...

This story has been updated to include a comment from FaceApp.

That Viral 'FaceApp' Is Making Everyone Look Whiter

The creator of an app which changes your selfies using artificial intelligence has apologised because its “hot” filter automatically lightened people’s skin.

FaceApp is touted as an app which uses “neural networks” to change facial characteristics, adding smiles or making users look older or younger. But users noticed one of the options, initially labelled as “hot” made people look whiter.

Yaroslav Goncharov, the creator and CEO of FaceApp, apologised for the feature, which he said was a side-effect of the “neural network”.

He said: “We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue.

“It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour.”

The feature is still available but has now been renamed “spark”, in an attempt to “exclude any positive connotation associated with it”, Goncharov said.

He added: “We are also working on the complete fix that should arrive soon.”

In previous interviews Goncharov, who is a former Microsoft and Yandex engineer, said FaceApp differs from other face-tuning software, which usually adds filters, because it uses deep learning technology to alter the photo itself.

He told TechCrunch in February: “We believe that such entertaining effects are subject to trends, but photorealism is timeless

“In addition to a sound product concept, we think that we are quite ahead in terms of technology.”

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The app came out in January on iOS and then on Android in February, but has surged in popularity in the last few weeks.

This is by no means the first time an app which changes people’s faces have been criticised for racial insensitivity.

Snapchat’s filters have come under fire on several occasions. Last year it was criticised for promoting “yellowface” after it released a filter which allowed users to turn their selfies into Asian caricatures. Prior to that, a Bob Marley filter was dubbed “the digital equivalent of blackface”.

FaceApp apologises for 'racist' filter that lightens users' skintone

A selfie app that renders users’ faces in varying styles removed one of its filters following criticism that it Whitewashed the faces of people of color.

Mic reports that after receiving complaints, FaceApp developers first changed the function’s name from “Hot” to “Spark,” then removed it completely yesterday (April 25). The feature was one of many that modified customers’ selfies, including ones that added a smile, changed their perceived gender and added or deleted wrinkles. FaceApp’s Itunes page no longer lists the Spark or Hot filter, but Mic quotes the old page as saying those using the filter would ”become more attractive.” As these tweets compiled by Mic and Buzzfeed attest, the filter did in fact Whiten users’ skin and alter their features:

So not only did my FaceApp make me white, it also used a picture of a random black woman it found on the internet. pic.twitter.com/uxysGUeHtD — Jay McGregor (@_JayMcgregor) April 25, 2017

Since I did my face reveal, I also did the face app thing, tell me what you think, also “hot” me is just me with lighter skin, so racist, :P pic.twitter.com/l2rrVobWyW — Doooy (@Doughy) April 23, 2017

the FaceApp filter that’s supposed to show the hot version of you just made me white pic.twitter.com/DhQ0uwMmV0 — zak. (@zakcheneyrice) April 25, 2017

FaceApp founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov apologized via The Guardian and attributed the Whitewashing to ”an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior.”

FaceApp is not the first selfie app to be acused of racist alterations. Snapchat users have leveled similar criticism against the company on multiple occasions, including last year when a filter added dreadlocks and darkened skin in honor of Bob Marley and 4/20.

(H/t Mic)

FaceApp Removes 'Spark' Filter Following Whitewashing Accusations

FaceApp: Experts have privacy concerns about popular face transformation app

Updated

FaceApp has gone viral. Why? Because it lets you transform your face in hilarious ways.

But privacy advocates warn you could be giving up much more information than you think.

It's the number one free iPhone app in Australia and more than 20 other countries at the moment, according to Applyzer.com. More than 700,000 people are reportedly downloading it every day.

Its creators, based in Russia, say the app uses a form of artificial intelligence (AI) — known as a neural network — to scan faces and make them younger, older, a different gender, or more attractive.

FaceApp's founder Yaroslav Goncharov said recently the app used "neural networks to modify a face on any photo while keeping it photorealistic".

But like many apps before it that take pictures on smartphones, it has run into racism and privacy controversies.

There's a privacy policy, but it's not amazing

The problem with the app — and probably like many others on your phone — is it's not clear what happens to all the data you give it.

The company's privacy policy leaves a fair amount of wriggle room, according to technology commentator Stilgherrian.

"This is a pretty standard boilerplate privacy policy, which effectively offers you no protection at all," he said.

"The entire business model of 'Startup-land' is scooping up massive quantities of personal data without any idea yet of how it might be used in the future.

"Meanwhile, the players in Startup-land are only looking as far ahead as their share float, or being bought out by Facebook or Google or whoever."

There have also been accusations the app was biasing lighter skin tones, leading to allegations that it was racist.

Its "hotness" filter (now renamed "spark"), was said to be whitening the skin of people of colour to make them more attractive.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Mr Goncharov apologised and said it was "working on a complete fix that should arrive soon".

"We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue," he told the tech website.

"It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour."

But Stilgherrian said it was a problem that should have been predicted.

"The allegation of racism goes to the core of Startup-land's toxic bro culture, whether in Silicon Valley or, as in this case, Moscow.

"It's a problem across the whole start-up ecosystem that aspires to be the next billion-dollar company.

"FaceApp has apologised for training their AI on (presumably) mostly-white faces, but why didn't they notice this to begin with?"

The lawyer's take

So with allegations of racism and privacy concerns, should you use it?

Lawyer Michael Bradley, a managing partner at Marque Lawyers, said that was up to you to decide, but like many things that come for free in the technology world: buyer beware.

"Anyone who has placed their face online in conjunction with their name and other identifying data (for example, anyone with a social media profile or website profile), is already plenty vulnerable to being digitally captured for future facial recognition uses," Mr Bradley told the ABC.

"This particular app doesn't add much extra danger. However, consenting to those uses for commercial purposes is an additional step which has no upside for humans."

Mr Bradley said FaceApp's privacy policy says nothing about what would happen to your data if you stopped using the service.

"It does say that, if they sell their business, your data will be going with it and you consent to that happening," he said.

"The privacy waiver extends to any affiliates of FaceApp or its successor. Hypothetically, if FaceApp sells out to the NSA..."

Privacy experts weigh in

The chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation David Vaile is blunt.

"Short answer: don't use it," he said.

"They ask for way more rights than they need to offer the service to you, [they] can remove the data from any effective legal protection regime, share it with almost anyone, and retain it indefinitely.

"It is impossible to tell from this what happens when you upload it, that is the problem. The licence is so lax. They can claim you agree they can send to wherever they like to whoever they like, and so long as there is some connection, [they can] do a lot of things with it."

Jon Lawrence, the executive officer of Electronic Frontiers, said people needed to think carefully — especially when it came to facial recognition.

"Facebook of course are at the forefront of this," he said.

"Facial recognition is rapidly becoming one of the key elements of digital identity and people should therefore consider protecting their facial image in the same way they should be protecting other elements of their identity, like their date of birth, tax file number etc."

Questions to FaceApp regarding retention of images were not answered.

Topics: internet-technology, internet-culture, security-intelligence, australia

First posted

FaceApp: Experts have privacy concerns about popular face transformation app

Social media is awash right now in selfies with weirdly realistic facial transformations thanks to a viral app, appropriately called “FaceApp.” FaceApp lets users add filters to faces to make them smile, age, and change gender, with a surprising (and sometimes creepy) level of realism. So how does FaceApp work? It’s actually surprisingly easy to use — and I’ve got the step-by-step for you right here.

FaceApp was created by a group of developers based in St. Petersburg, Russia. “We developed a new technology that uses neural networks to modify a face on any photo while keeping it photorealistic. For example, it can add a smile, change gender and age, or just make you more attractive,” Founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov told Tech Crunch. According to Goncharov, what sets FaceApp apart from selfie filters available on apps like Meitu and Snapchat is that FaceApp’s results are startlingly realistic. While other apps add elements that are clearly fake (and Meitu even turns users into all-out anime characters), FaceApp’s images, at least in some cases, look like they might not even be altered. (Mileage varies, of course. The quality and angle of a photo seems to heavily impact how realistic FaceApp’s results are. Some FaceApp images are very convincing, while others are very much not.)

You can get the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. It’s free to download, but there are in-app purchases available remove ads and get other perks. After you’ve downloaded and installed FaceApp, here’s how you create your own fancy selfies:

  1. Take a selfie or choose a photo from your camera roll.

When you open the app for the first time, you’ll be asked to give FaceApp access to your camera and camera roll. When you agree, you’ll see a screen pop up with a camera view up top, and photos from your camera roll on the bottom. To take a new selfie, simply push the white button in the center. To use a photo from your camera roll, scroll down and choose the image you’d like to start with.

  1. Choose how many photos you want to transform.

Lara Rutherford-Morrison/Bustle

After selecting your first photo, you’ll get to choose whether to make a single selfie or a collage of two or four selfies. If you make a collage, you have the option of choosing different photos for each spot, or using the same photo over and over and transforming it differently each time.

  1. Pick your filters.

Lara Rutherford-Morrison/Bustle

Tap on the different filters and watch the magic happen. Teeth appear out of nowhere! You suddenly age 40 years! You're suddenly a child! You’re gender presentation changes! Is this real life??

  1. Download and share your new faces.

Tap the social media icons or the download button on the right to keep your new selfies or share them with friends.

  1. Try to decide whether your transformed photos are amazing or super creepy.

Lara Rutherford-Morrison/Bustle

I’m definitely falling on the “Eww, no” side of things. I can see why people are into this app — the effects really are surprisingly realistic. But that very realism is what freaks me out about it; seeing teeth that aren’t my teeth suddenly appear on my face gives me the heebie-jeebies. It’s like watching another person use my face as a mask.

Will seeing your face undergo this photorealistic transformation fill you with glee, or with a deep, visceral horror? Only one way to find out.

How Does FaceApp Work? Here's How You Can Get In On The Viral Face Mashing Trend

Shona Ghosh/Business Insider Beauty filters on popular smartphones turn you paler in selfies

If you own a phone which runs Android, the chances are it has a camera setting you don’t know about.

Popular smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Galaxy S7, the Huawei P9, and many others often feature something called “Beauty” or “Beauty mode” when you turn on the front camera to take a selfie.

Theoretically, it does what it says on the tin: airbrushing magic to make you look prettier in photos. Usually, it makes your skin look smoother and your eyes brighter.

When I played around with Beauty mode on my Huawei P9, I found it also whitened my skin. It’s especially noticeable on anyone who’s dark-skinned, like I am.

I experimented with several other popular phones to see how extreme the beauty settings are, and you can see the results of my experiment below.

A caveat: different phones have different default settings. The default white balance setting on one phone might make you and your surroundings look washed out compared to another phone. So I compared “Beauty” selfies with normal selfies taken on the same device. I took photos at a similar time of day, inside an office with plenty of natural light.

I started with my own phone, the Huawei P9, which has a fairly complicated set of beauty filter settings.

You can set the following attributes anywhere between 1 and 10, where 10 is the most extreme version: “Smooth”, “Whiten”, “Enlarge eyes”, “Brighten eyes”, and “Thinner face”.

This is what it looked like when I set everything at 10. (Grab the slider bar and move it sideways to compare the photos.)

A normal Huawei P9 photo vs a “Beauty” Huawei P9 photo

Clearly, this is the most exaggerated version of the filter. But if you wanted to, you could put each setting at 2 or 3, making your face look slightly whiter and slightly thinner.

It’s not just high-end smartphones either. Here’s a how a selfie turned out on the Moto G5, which costs around £160 ($US211) and features a 5-megapixel front camera.

A normal Moto G5 photo vs a “Beauty filter” Moto G5 photo

I also tried the Sony Xperia X Compact, another mid-range phone which has a “soft skin” beauty mode. The effect isn’t quite as exaggerated as all the others though.

A normal Sony Xperia X Compact photo vs a “soft skin” Sony Xperia X Compact photo

Like Huawei, Samsung included some weird face-thinning settings along with its beauty filter. Its camera can make your eyes bigger and, of course, your skin whiter too.

A normal Samsung S7 Edge photo vs a “Beauty Face” selfie Samsung S7 Edge photo

Finally, I tried the Huawei P10, the successor to the Huawei P9.

The P10 also has lots of complicated beauty settings — the most dramatic I found were the filters you apply after you’ve taken a selfie. You can turn up how soft your skin appears or … how white you are. Here’s a normal photo compared with a photo where I turned the whiteness up to full.

A normal Huawei P10 photo vs a white filtered Huawei P10 photo

We also tried taking selfies on the iPhone 7 and the Google’s Pixel XL but neither had adjustable beauty settings in selfie mode.

A normal iPhone 7 photo

Samsung and Huawei are the two biggest Android smartphone vendors globally, and both actively show off the fact you can use their devices to make your eyes bigger and your skin whiter.

In a demo application, Samsung shows how can you change the size of your eyes on the Galaxy S8. Huawei has a similar video for the P10. Together, the two firms account for a third of the entire smartphone market, according to IDC. That’s millions of consumers with phones whose selfie filters suggest whiter skin equals more beautiful.

This isn’t the only example of technology apparently reinforcing negative ideas about race.

Black phone users noticed that Snapchat’s augmented reality filters narrow their features, lighten their skin, and turn their eyes blue.

FaceApp had to apologise after users found its “hot” filter made them look whiter.

And Microsoft launched a chatbot last year that made racist, pro-Nazi remarks.

All of this is particularly difficult for dark-skinned women who have to contend with the fact that some Asian, South Asian and African cultures already view their complexion negatively. We don’t need our phones to do it too.

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How popular smartphones make your skin look 'whiter' in selfies

On Wednesday morning, the photo-editing app FaceApp released new photo filters that change the ethnic appearance of your face.

The app first became popular earlier in 2017 due to its ability to transform people into elderly versions of themselves and different genders. These new options, however, will likely cause some outrage: The filters are Asian, Black, Caucasian and Indian.

FaceApp’s latest update notification Alexis Kleinman/FaceApp

Selfie apps like Snapchat have taken criticism for filters that apply “digital blackface.” In 2016, Snapchat released a Bob Marley filter that made people look like the singer; it darkened the skin and gave users dreadlocks. Snapchat said another one of its 2016 filters was “inspired by anime,” but many people called it “yellowface,” as it seemingly turned the user into an Asian stereotype.

FaceApp’s newest filters, however, don’t pretend they’re anything but racial.

This is the original selfie I submitted to the app.

The original selfie I took in FaceApp Alexis Kleinman/https://www.faceapp.com/

Here’s how the filters make me look.

This isn’t the first time FaceApp has released a racially insensitive filter. In April, the company’s CEO pulled a “hot” filter from the app after users complained it was just making people’s faces whiter.

“The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects,” Yaroslav Goncharov, the app’s CEO and creator, said in an email. “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.”

“The new controversial filters will be removed in the next few hours,” Goncharov said in an email around 5 hours after this piece was published.

August 9, 2017, 5:31 p.m.: This story has been updated.

Photo-editing app FaceApp updates with Asian, Black, Caucasian and Indian filters

FaceApp’s CEO says: “The new controversial filters will be removed in the next few hours.”

You might remember FaceApp — a selfie-editing app that transforms users’ pictures by making them look older, younger, or giving them an artificial smile. Well, earlier this month, the Russian app’s creators updated their software with four new filters: “Asian,” “Black,” “Caucasian,” and “Indian.” First spotted by Mic, users can select these options and the app will alter their appearance, changing the color of their skin and hair.

It’s tantamount to a sort of digital blackface, “dressing up” as different ethnicities. Snapchat was previously criticized for implementing a similar feature when it released a Bob Marley selfie mask to celebrate 4/20. FaceApp itself has been criticized for racial insensitivity in the past, with users pointing out that its “hot” filter consistently lightened users’ skin tones.

The company later apologized for the feature, with CEO Yaroslav Goncharov explaining that the effect was an “an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias.” This means that the software that was used to change users’ appearance had been fed only pictures of white people, so this was the skin color it associated with “hotness.” This sort of data-led bias is a big problem in the field of artificial intelligence, with programs regularly embodying racial and gender prejudices because of the data they’re trained on.

In the case of FaceApp’s latest update, though, Goncharov claims there is no bias or prejudice involved. “The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects,” he told The Verge over email. “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.”

Some might point out, though, that the order the filters appear in is hardly the issue — it’s the fact they’re being offered in the first place.

Popular face-aging app now offers ‘Black,’ ‘Indian,’ and ‘Asian’ filters

FaceApp’s racial filters lived only briefly, but they should never have happened in the first place.

FaceApp

For a brief moment on Wednesday, FaceApp—the app that went viral in April for taking a photo of someone’s face and making them look older, younger, more masculine, or more feminine—had a new feature that let users see how they would look if they were a different race. That means white users could make their faces black, and black users could whiten their skin. There was also an Asian filter as well as one to make people look Indian.

Within hours, FaceApp had pulled down the new feature. That’s good. But really: Who thought it was a good idea? Did they actually think that this would go well?

You may be thinking to yourself, This sounds awfully familiar. Haven’t we been through this nonsense before? Yes. Yes, we have. The new race categories were an update to the app. Back in the spring, when everyone first ran to download and play with FaceApp, it had a feature called Spark that lightened users’ skin tone. Spark was removed as an option on FaceApp after users took to social media calling the company out for whitewashing.

At the time, FaceApp called what happened “an unfortunate side effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior”—a rather ridiculous excuse.

me and my three ethnically diverse half brothers unequivocally condemn the new faceapp filters pic.twitter.com/uMNfIrb73f — flying drone bought w/ gamestop paycheck into tree (@Lowenaffchen) August 9, 2017

But somehow, for some mysterious reason, Wireless Lab, the company that developed FaceApp, apparently decided to lean in to its race filters, adding even more options than just skin whitening. But adding a blackface filter, an Asian face filter, and an Indian face filter didn’t level things out. At all.

Perhaps the Russia-based company wasn’t aware of the history of racial parodying on our side of the pond. But considering the outrage that ensued after its whitewashing filter, one would think FaceApp had learned that making an app to change people’s race will never, ever, ever, ever be OK. Almost every country in the world continues to grapple with the racist aftermath of hundreds of years of colonial history. There’s too much very real and very recent history of people trying to pass or change their race in order to survive or live a more privileged life.

To be fair, FaceApp isn’t the only photo filter social media app that’s toyed with race. Last year on April 20, the national holiday for marijuana enthusiasts in the U.S., Snapchat offered users a filter that made them look black with dreadlocks. It was obviously a nod to Bob Marley but it was nevertheless a blackface filter, and the company got significant blowback, too. Not that Snap learned its lesson. Later that year, in August, Snapchat released another alarming filter, an “anime” option that made people’s face look more yellow, their eyes look more narrow, and teeth bigger. And yet again, the company was chastised for making a racist filter.

The amazing thing is that this keeps happening—that these features make it to the market at all. Please, tech companies: Knock it off with the race-based face filters. There’s nothing cool about making someone look like a different race. Stick to flower halos, glasses, hats, and animal-ear filters. So many people who use the internet are plenty racist enough already. There’s no need to help.

FaceApp briefly let users change their skin color. Bad idea.

FaceApp boss Yaroslav Goncharov has defended the new filters. "The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects."

​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.

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.

These new filters felt to many like a strange escalation of the racial insensitivity that's already plaguing face swapping and transforming apps.

In fact, FaceApp itself had to pull a "hot" filter in April, after users discovered that the filter was lightening skin.

The app didn't use a diverse enough data set while training the filter to define "hotness", which essentially meant that the filter tried to make everyone look whiter to make them look more attractive. The company apologised.

​As face-swapping apps like FaceApp have gotten better at transforming the faces of their users, the debate over what, exactly, they permit has intensified.

When Snapchat introduced a Bob Marley filter on April, 20, 2016, a lot of people pushed back and said the filter was (a) racist and (b) specifically disrespectful to Marley's legacy (Snapchat said at the time that the filter was developed with the co-operation of Marley's estate).

And later that year, Snapchat introduced (and pulled) an "anime"-inspired filter that had quite a few similarities to racist caricature drawings of Asians.

FaceApp chief executive Yaroslav Goncharov defended the new filters.

"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. In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order."

We asked Goncharov if he had a response to those who said the simple existence of the filters, and not the specific way FaceApp executed them, were the issue. He didn't immediately respond.

FaceApp releases change-your-race filters

A viral app that added Asian, Black, Caucasian and Indian filters to people's selfies has removed them after being accused of racism.

The update which launched yesterday was met with backlash - with many people criticising it for propagating racial stereotypes.

The filters drew comparison with 'blackface' and 'yellowface' - when white people wear make up to appear to be from a different ethnic group.

Scroll down for video

The filters drew comparison with 'blackface' and 'yellowface' - when white people wear make up to appear to be from a different ethnic group. Pictured is American President Donald Trump with the Asian, Black, Caucasian and Indian filters

WHAT IS FACEAPP? The app uses Artificial Intelligence to transform faces. Filters users can choose from include: - Adding a smile - Changing your age - Becoming 'more attractive' - Changing gender The Russia-based company initially denied their new filters were racist but then added that they would be removed.

The Russia-based company initially denied their new filters were racist but then added that they would be removed.

On Wednesday CEO Yaroslav Goncharov said 'the new controversial filters will be removed in the next few hours.'

'Can't believe FaceApp added filters for different races. So offensive!', wrote Twitter user Ethan Booker.

'They don't have any positive or negative connotations associated with them', Mr Goncharov told TechCrunch.

'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,' he said.

The app has 40 million users across Android and iOS devices.

This isn't the first time FaceApp has offended users.

In April, the makers of FaceApp apologised after users claimed the 'hot' filter lightened their skin tone.

The update which launched yesterday was met with backlash - with many people criticising it for propagating racial stereotypes. Pictured is Vice President Mike Pence with the filters

The app's creators claimed it would 'transform your face using Artificial Intelligence', allowing selfie-takers to alter their photos to look old or 'beautify' themselves.

But users have complained after they found that one beautifying option, labelled 'hot', lightens their skin tone.

'We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue,' wrote Mr Goncharov back in August.

I got an alert for an app I have never used. I couldn't believe it. Why on earth is this OK?! #FaceApp #blackface pic.twitter.com/zDSTxXUFTQ — Kaitlyn Wells (@KaitWells) August 9, 2017

The update, which launched yesterday, was met with backlash - with many people criticising it for propagating racial stereotypes

'It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour.

'To mitigate the issue, we have renamed the effect to exclude any positive connotation associated with it.'

Those who download the app found the 'hot' filter has been renamed 'spark'.

Another Twitter user, kung fu khary, wrote in April: 'So this app is apparently racist as hell. But at least I'm sassy.' The app appeared to make his skin lighter when using the 'hot' filter

Many users took to Twitter to complain about the app.

User Terrence AB Johnson wrote: '#faceapp isn't just bad it's also racist... [hot] filter=bleach my skin and make my nose your opinion of European. No thanks #uninstalled'.

Another user, kung fu khary, wrote: 'So this app is apparently racist as hell. But at least I'm sassy.'

Alongside options to make a selfie-taker change gender (left hand image) or look older (right hand image) the app gives users the chance to 'beautify' themselves

Twitter user Terrence AB Johnson shared the results of his FaceApp experience. When asked to make his picture 'hot' the app lightened his skin and changed the shape of his nose

The app's creators claim it will 'transform your face using Artificial Intelligence', allowing selfie-takers to transform their photos

IS MEITU RACIST? Earlier this year people accused the popular photo editing app Meitu of being racist. The free Chinese app has a 'hand-drawn' feature that can 'transform your photos into hand paintings,' according to the firm. This means it'll give you huge, sparkling eyes, smooth skin, and blushing cheeks. The feature comes with a number of different filters, including Angelic, Blossoms, Fairy Tale, Mermaid, and Petals. And some will make you look like something right out of anime. Some users claimed this feature gave them 'yellow face'.

And user Haack the planet said: 'Nine year old son noticed the 'hot' filter on FaceApp just makes us look lighter. 'That's racist!' He yelled.'

FaceApp is not the first beautifying app to spark controversy over racism claims.

Earlier this year people accused the popular photo editing app Meitu of giving users 'yellow face'.

The free Chinese Meitu app is available for both Android and iPhone, and can be used for regular photo editing, like removing ble

FaceApp removes 'Ethnicity Filters' after racism storm

This really isn't that hard, people. Just last year, Snapchat apologised for adding an offensive Bob Marley selfie filter to its stable. Now, FaceApp — the silly photo editor you probably downloaded in March and totally forgot about — has outdone Snapchat by throwing in options for people to virtually switch between multiple races. No. Don't do this.

Image: Gizmodo

Snapchat's Offensive 'Bob Marley' Filter Gives You Instant Blackface For some reason, Snapchat decided it was a good idea to create a Bob Marley filter — one that makes the user look like a bizarre, warped version of the late singer, dreadlocks and all. All the typical things that might stop a massive social network from doing this — the fact that it looks like like automated blackface, the reductiveness of creating a Bob Marley filter on 4/20, the half-hearted attempts at incorporating Marley's music, the fact that it literally slaps blackface and dreadlocks on everyone who tries it — apparently didn't occur to Snapchat. Read more

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

The whole internet loves faceapp, the lovely app that swaps gender!

5 weeks later pic.twitter.com/3rHHo6RQmz — Casey M ? (@caseymerwin) August 9, 2017

Normally, FaceApp is used to make friends do a smile in a sad photo, or add old man wrinkles to a fresh-faced 20-something. In April the company added a "hot" filter that everyone quickly realised just attempts to make everyone look whiter. The company subsequently blamed its shoddy AI that was programmed by humans. The filter was renamed "spark" in order to "exclude any positive connotation associated with it," FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov told The Guardian. It was subsequently removed altogether.

For now, Goncharov is sticking by the new racial features, telling Mic in an email:

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. In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order.

This shouldn't have to be explained, but no matter how well "designed" these features are, they perpetuate stereotypes and call back to an era when dressing up as caricatures of other races was a common form of comedy. Would you wear blackface as a Halloween costume? Would you do it and expect to get through the night without being punched in the face? Selfie app makers just have to follow that guideline and their lives will be much easier.

[Mic]

FaceApp Launches Digital Blackface Options Because The World Is Filled With Idiots

Remember FaceApp, the smartphone app that, among other things, allows you to add a filter to your face to make you look younger or older? The one that somehow fascinates every single person you know and encourages them to post photos on their social media feed so that your feed becomes some kind of Benjamin Button-esque nightmare?

Well, on Wednesday, FaceApp added new Black, Asisan, and Indian filters that immediately stirred up controversy. The new filters allowed FaceApp users to show what they would look like if they were another race. But it was hard to find anyone who thought that was actually a good idea—and the new filters were taken down within a matter of just hours.

I got an alert for an app I have never used. I couldn't believe it. Why on earth is this OK?! #FaceApp #blackface pic.twitter.com/zDSTxXUFTQ — Kaitlyn Wells (@KaitWells) August 9, 2017

The issue revolved around the fact that these new filters were, in essence, blackface, brownface, and yellowface for white people. Dressing up or filtering your way into another race is pretty hurtful for those who are actually of that race and face (no pun intended) discrimination every day but can’t just change a filter and have it all disappear.

The FaceApp algorithm also appeared to emphasize certain harmful stereotypes about certain races. For example, in the set of photos below, the Indian example is pretty much the exact same as the original white guy but with a unibrow.

POST CONTINUES BELOW

me and my three ethnically diverse half brothers unequivocally condemn the new faceapp filters pic.twitter.com/uMNfIrb73f — Alex Nichols (@Lowenaffchen) August 9, 2017

There was also this photo of Mike Pence—who looks nothing like Barack Obama—getting turned into someone who looks suspiciously like the former President.

Wow... FaceApp really setting the bar for racist AR with its awful new update that includes Black, Indian and Asian "race filters" pic.twitter.com/Lo5kmLvoI9 — Lucas Matney (@lucasmtny) August 9, 2017

In a statement he released just before having the offensive filters removed, FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov responded to the controversy his company caused by writing:

"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. In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order."

This isn’t the first time FaceApp has been criticized for racially insensitive behavior. In April, it introduced a "hot" filter that was meant to magically make you look more attractive. However, users noticed that the app’s AI somehow learned that, in order to do this, features needed to be softened and skin tones needed to be lightened.

#faceapp isn't' just bad it's also racist...🔥 filter=bleach my skin and make my nose your opinion of European. No thanks #uninstalled pic.twitter.com/DM6fMgUhr5 — Terrance AB Johnson (@tweeterrance) April 19, 2017

Snapchat has also come under fire for similar blunders. Remember the Bob Marley filter for 4/20 that gave you dreadlocks and a darker complexion? Yeah. Maybe these social media companies should start thinking long and hard before coming up with these filters.

FaceApp Removes Black, Asian, and Indian Filters After Backlash They Should Have Expected

AI-powered program allowed users to edit selfies to fit into ‘Caucasian, Asian, Indian or Black’ categories causing outrage and immediate U-turn

Popular AI-powered selfie program FaceApp was forced to pull new filters that allowed users to modify their pictures to look like different races, just hours after it launched it.

The app, which initially became famous for its features that let users edit images to look older or younger, or add a smile, launched the new filters around midday on Wednesday. They allowed a user to edit their image to fit one of four categories: Caucasian, Asian, Indian or Black.

Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) FaceApp's 'ethnicity filters' are a pretty terrible idea. Like, maybe one of the worst ideas. https://t.co/kV09pNpWRs

Users rapidly pointed out that the feature wasn’t particularly sensitively handled: technology site The Verge described it as “tantamount to a sort of digital blackface, ‘dressing up’ as different ethnicities”, while TechCruch said the app “seems to be getting a little too focused on races rather than faces”.

Alex Nichols (@Lowenaffchen) me and my three ethnically diverse half brothers unequivocally condemn the new faceapp filters pic.twitter.com/uMNfIrb73f

The company initially released a statement arguing that the “ethnicity change filters” were “designed to be equal in all aspects”.

“They don’t have any positive or negative connotations associated with them,” the company’s chief executive Yaroslav Goncharov said. “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.”

But by 5pm on the same day, FaceApp apparently agreed with the criticism, pulling the new filters from its app. They were unavailable to users a few hours later.

Lucas Matney (@lucasmtny) Wow... FaceApp really setting the bar for racist AR with its awful new update that includes Black, Indian and Asian "race filters" pic.twitter.com/Lo5kmLvoI9

It’s not even the first time the app has waded into this storm. In April, it came under fire for its “hot” filter, which was supposed to make users look more attractive. In the process, it also lightened their complexion, leading to uncomfortable questions about what the AI had been taught about the nature of beauty.

It isn’t only small applications which make these blunders. Snapchat faced similar opprobrium for a filter which made users look like late reggae singer Bob Marley, replete with cartoon dreadlocks and a cap; whats more, the filter was released on 20 April 2016, a day (“4/20”) known for its association with weed culture – leading to accusations the company was cheapening Marley’s legacy.

FaceApp forced to pull 'racist' filters that allow 'digital blackface'

Popular photo filter application, FaceApp, which allows users to take selfies and then add fun filters to them to change their appearance by adding a range of photo filters, faced major backlash after its developers on August 9 rolled out an update allowing new filters that have been termed racist.

The application first became a sensation in February 2017 due to its ability to make its users look older, younger, more masculine, or more feminine, and even add a smile to their unhappy face.

However, the latest update which brings new filter options – Asian, Black, Caucasian and Indian – has understandably led to the outrage, prompting its developers to quickly retract the update.

me and my three ethnically diverse half brothers unequivocally condemn the new faceapp filters pic.twitter.com/uMNfIrb73f — Alex Nichols (@Lowenaffchen) August 9, 2017

What is the app all about?

This Augmented Reality (AR) platform which uses neural networks to provide photo-realistic face-morphing that not just adds a layer over your picture but instead edits the image to bend the reality in "few choice ways".

Speaking to TechCrunch earlier in February, its founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov explained the idea behind the application and how it's different from other photo filter apps available in the market.

“We developed a new technology that uses neural networks to modify a face on any photo while keeping it photo-realistic. For example, it can add a smile, change gender and age, or just make you more attractive... Our main differentiator is photo-realism. After applying a filter, it is still your photo."

As compared to other mainstream photo filter apps, its creators claim FaceApp uses unmatched technology such as employing "deep generative convolutional neural networks" for editing pictures. He adds, "We think that we are quite ahead in terms of technology. As far as I know, there are no products or research papers that can claim similar quality on this task."

Irresponsible use of technology

The application till now has been a hit and has gone viral in countries across the world, and for good reason. In a sea of similar photo filter apps, FaceApp's push for using photo-realism has helped it stand out. The impressive use of machine learning and AR has further helped it become a hit.

But then, what good is this "unmatched technology" if it's not used responsibly?

FaceApp's faux pas was at best an unconscious attempt at peddling racial stereotypes. At a time when societies around the world are battling hard to fight unsavoury behaviour that propagates discrimination based on a person's skin colour and ethnicity, this decision by the developers of an application used by teens and pre-teens to roll out "race filters" can only be termed as irresponsible.

What's worse is that this isn't even the first time that the developers have erred in the short history of the app. Shockingly, after its launch in February 2017, FaceApp chose to add a beautifying "hotness" filter to the app. But as it turns out, there was no beauty to the idea behind this filter since all it did was simply "whiten" the complexion of the user to make them look "more beautiful".

So I downloaded this app and decided to pick the "hot" filter not knowing that it would make me white. It's 2017, c'mon guys smh#FaceApp pic.twitter.com/9U9dv9JuCm — Shahquelle L. (@RealMoseby96) April 20, 2017

Having said that, it will still be unfair to single out FaceApp and its Russian developers for a move that is largely a product of a thought that lives and breathes shamelessly among us. In league with close to 20 other lesser-known apps, social media giant Snapchat had earlier in 2016 thought it fine to roll out a filter that promotes racist stereotypes of Asians. The feature allowed users to turn their selfies into Asian caricatures with cartoonish squinty eyes.

The feature was as insensitive and irresponsible as FaceApp's filters which in its misguided hubris attempted to change a person's racial identity by simply tweaking the colour of their skin.

In a world that still suffers from racial prejudices and witnesses hate crimes with regularity, the last thing we need are such big name influencers telling us "white is beautiful" or propagating gender and racial stereotypes.

Also read - If I don’t speak out, I will lose my voice: Simran filmmaker Hansal Mehta

FaceApp's Indian and Black photo filters are quite obviously racist

Remember that viral face-filtering app, FaceApp, that was accused of being racist after featuring a filter called "Hot" that actually lightened people's skin](https://www.allure.com/story/faceapp-accused-of-racism-with-skin-whitening-feature)? Well, somehow they've managed to one-up themselves and are being called out again, this time for creating filters that are intentionally meant to change a person's race when in use.

The virtual reality app had its 15 minutes of fame last spring, when people were suuuuper into the idea of taking photos of themselves as old people and seeing what their babies would look like (simpler times, folks). The app's first controversy hit in April when users realized the "Hot" filter was visibly lightening their skin in photos. Then on Wednesday, the app released an update that included new filters, titled "Caucasian," "Black," "Indian" and "Asian," Buzzfeed reports.

According to Buzzfeed, which did its own experiments with the feature, users who take a selfie and select an ethnicity filter will be left with a resulting image that's been altered in terms of its features and skin tone. Of course, Twitter was quick to point out this is hugely problematic on pretty much every level.

"Im glad faceapp, that fun app we all used for 24 hours, just invented black face as a cool retro comeback attempt," Tweeted one user. "... FaceApp, please do not do this," pleaded another.

"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," a representative from FaceApp told Buzzfeed in a statement. "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."

This set of filters, they assert, is not at all the same as their first round of controversial filters for one very specific reason. "The 'Spark' filter was quite a different case. It implied a positive transformation and therefore, it was unacceptable for an algorithm to implicitly change the ethnicity origin," they said in the same statement that many would interpret as establishing the company's poor track record on the intersection of filters and race.

...Let's just say, Twitter still isn't convinced.

We'll keep you posted on whether FaceApp decides to remove its new filters — or if they just keep coming out with more of them.

Read about makeup that makes you look filtered — in a non-problematic way:

Now, watch:

FaceApp Is Being Called "Racist" Again for Featuring Problematic Filters

FaceApp

In recent months, FaceApp has been a fun app you’ve probably seen on your social media feeds, letting you and your friends morph faces to look older, younger, or smiling when you frown. You can even see what you’d look like if you presented as another gender (with this last feature often proving a little problematic in and of itself). And a brand-new feature from the app has landed the company in even more hot water online.

The app just added ethnicity filters, which morphs your face into what the app deems Asian, black, Caucasian, and Indian ethnicities. Yes, this involves lightening or darkening your skin, plus altering your facial features and hair texture to fit ethnic stereotypes. Here are a few shots of the filters in action.

This clearly did not go over well online. Some people on Twitter were quick to call the new filters racist, compare it to blackface (and brownface and yellowface), and just a bad idea all around.

Everyone loves FaceApp, the phone app that adds smiles and wrinkles to your friends' faces!

We regret to inform you that FaceApp is racist pic.twitter.com/2tRSlcfWdc — Jennifer Unkle (@jbu3) August 9, 2017

(FaceApp board meeting)

"Our app is popular."

(Everyone nods)

"What if it could be more popular?"

(Everyone leans in)

"Get this: racism." — Good Tweetman (@Goodtweet_man) August 9, 2017

The whole internet loves faceapp, the lovely app that swaps gender!

5 weeks later pic.twitter.com/3rHHo6RQmz — Casey (@caseymerwin) August 9, 2017

#FaceApp now with digital blackface! Complete with dark skin, thick lips and a broad nose!

Once again black face is not ok! FFS! 😡 pic.twitter.com/R7GQoN8gsT — Leon Alleyne (@leon_alleyne) August 9, 2017

And this isn’t the first time the app has seen backlash online. Mic reports that FaceApp pulled a “hot” filter that appeared to lighten your skin. The company apologized, calling the effect an unintended consequence of the app’s technology, rather than a planned feature.

#faceapp isn't' just bad it's also racist...🔥 filter=bleach my skin and make my nose your opinion of European. No thanks #uninstalled pic.twitter.com/DM6fMgUhr5 — Terrance AB Johnson (@tweeterrance) April 19, 2017

Yaroslav Goncharov, the CEO of FaceApp, insisted the feature wasn’t offensive in a statement to Cosmopolitan.com:

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. In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order.

The company elaborated to BuzzFeed: “The 'Spark' filter was quite a different case. It implied a positive transformation and therefore, it was unacceptable for an algorithm to implicitly change the ethnicity origin.”

But Gizmodo points out a key factor that led to the offense online: Not too long ago, white people dressed up as other races to poke fun at them — and, specifically, often painted their faces to alter their skin tone and take on stereotypes associated with those races. So while the offense may not have been intentional, it’s been widely interpreted as a digital form of an offensive practice — which is why this, in general, was a pretty bad move.

Update 8/9, 5:15 p.m.: In a statement to Cosmopolitan.com, FaceApp's CEO Yaroslav Goncharov confirms the filters "will be removed in the next few hours."

FaceApp Ethnicity Filters Make You Look Like a Different Race

"New filters: Asian, Black, Caucasian, Indian." WHAT. Update: Faceapp has removed the four new filters.

Remember FaceApp? Back in April, it was a suddenly popular Internet Thing(™) that would make your face look like you were a baby, an old person, or a different gender. Neat! Then people noticed that the app's "Spark" filter (at first called the "Hot" filter) just made them look whiter.

#faceapp isn't' just bad it's also racist...🔥 filter=bleach my skin and make my nose your opinion of European. No t… https://t.co/bhh2cq6c2A

The company removed the filter in response to the backlash. At the time, FaceApp told BuzzFeed News that the whitening effect wasn't intentional: "It is an unfortunate side effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior." All was seemingly well.

But then FaceApp did it again. The app introduced new filters on Wedensday: "Asian, Black, Caucasian, and Indian." It may have Milkshake Ducked itself.

Everyone loves FaceApp, the phone app that adds smiles and wrinkles to your friends' faces! We regret to inform yo… https://t.co/dyJoMQ5qek

At first, FaceApp said in a statement to BuzzFeed News: "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. In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order." "The 'Spark' filter was quite a different case. It implied a positive transformation and therefore, it was unacceptable for an algorithm to implicitly change the ethnicity origin," FaceApp added. But after public backlash and the publication of this article, FaceApp removed the racial selfie filters from its app.

Here's what would happen when you used the filters: You'd take a selfie. With some skepticism.

Blake Montgomery/BuzzFeed News

You'd select some filters. Clockwise from top right, my choices were Caucasian (looks most like my Caucasian self, but with icier blue eyes), Asian, black, and Indian.

Blake Montgomery/BuzzFeed News

Should we take a second look at that?

Blake Montgomery/BuzzFeed News

Here's what happened when BuzzFeed video producer Brendan Smith tried FaceApp's filters: Clockwise from top right: Asian, black, caucasian, no filter.

Brendan Smith/BuzzFeed News

And BuzzFeed News reporter Katie Notopoulos: Clockwise from top right: black, Asian, Indian, no filter.

Katie Notopoulos/BuzzFeed News

And Jill Stachyra, who sent BuzzFeed News her selfies (below). She's 16, lives in New York, and identifies as half black and half white. "I got this notification and I'm SHOOK. That is me; I'm a half-black/white 16-year-old girl from NY and I'm infuriated. This should not be normal," she told BuzzFeed News. "Top left is normal; top right is 'Black' — notice the enlarged lips 🙄 — lower left is 'Asian' and lower right is 'Indian,' which correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, India was in Asia," she said.

Jill Stachyra/BuzzFeed News

Some people on Twitter were not pleased:

(FaceApp board meeting) "Our app is popular." (Everyone nods) "What if it could be more popular?" (Everyone leans in) "Get this: racism."

So I guess the face app turned racist today 😳

ah yes exactly what our racist country needs. Great update face app!

Im glad faceapp, that fun app we all used for 24 hours, just invented black face as a cool retro comeback attempt

oh jesus faceapp please do not do this

But some people were into it...?

From @Skisodamus's research on faceapp, I've discovered that I would make a handsome black and asian man.

They added different races to FaceApp🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

face app just keeps getting better

FaceApp Introduced Blackface And Yellowface Selfie Filters, Then Removed Them A Few Hours Later

FaceApp has removed a number of racially themed photo filters after being accused of racism.

The app, which uses artificial intelligence to edit pictures, this week launched a number of “ethnicity change filters”.

They claimed to show users what they'd look like if they were Caucasian, Black, Asian or Indian.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view. From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

FaceApp has attracted fierce criticism for launching the filters, with some users claiming they were racist, and encouraged users to "black up" digitally.

Responding to the backlash, FaceApp founder and CEO, Yaroslav Goncharov, said, “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.

“In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order.”

The filters have, however, now been removed from the app.

Mr Goncharov declined to comment when the Independent asked why FaceApp decided to remove the filters.

Shape Created with Sketch. 11 useful Facebook features you didn't know existed Show all 11 left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. 11 useful Facebook features you didn't know existed 1/11 Clean up your News Feed Most of us are Facebook friends with some people we don’t actually care about, and there are several ways to keep their updates off your News Feed. The easiest option is to head to the column on the left and open News Feed Preferences. From here, you can prioritise friends, unfollow friends, refollow friends you unfollowed in the past and even block specific apps. 2/11 Change ad preferences You can view a list of everything Facebook thinks you’re into and tinker with your ad preferences. A lot more information is displayed on the desktop site than the app, so we’d recommend doing this on a computer. Just open Settings and select Advert Preferences. 3/11 Manage notifications You can get notifications about pretty much anything on Facebook these days, and that can be seriously irritating. Choose what you do and don’t want to be notified about by going into the Settings menu and selecting Notifications. You might be surprised by the number of sections you have to trawl through. 4/11 Save data Facebook automatically plays videos in your News Feed, and that’s a problem if you aren’t on a generous data plan. You can change this by going to Videos in the Settings menu and disabling autoplay. On the app, there’s feature in the left-hand column called Data Saver, which also does this, but reduces the size of pictures too. 5/11 Reorder your News feed You can choose to order the updates that appear in your News Feed by time or importance. Just hit the three buttons next to News Feed Preferences on the Facebook site and choose between Top Stories and Recent Stories. 6/11 Download your data Facebook lets you download all of the immense amounts of data it has on you, including the posts you’ve shared, your messages and photos, ads you’ve clicked on and even the IP addresses that are logged when you log in or out of the site. It’s a lot of information, which you’ll want to get your hands on if you decide to quit the social network. 7/11 Find nearby places Nearby Places is actually a really handy tool, which lets you quickly find and research things like restaurants, hotels, museums and nightlife hotspots around you. It lives in the left-hand column, and also shows useful information like customer ratings, prices and distance. 8/11 Find free Wi-Fi Similarly, Find Wi-Fi is ideal for when you’re bored, running low on data or lost. It shows you all the places in your vicinity that offer free Wi-Fi, so you can head over and either relax or get some work done. 9/11 Save things for later Facebook’s ideal for killing time, but every now and again you’ll stumble across something you’re interested in right as you need to put your phone away. Fortunately, you can save posts for later by hitting the arrow in the top-right corner and selecting the Save option. Everything you save goes straight to the Saved section in the left-hand column. 10/11 Control tags When people tag you in posts or pictures, they don’t have to automatically appear on your profile. You can switch on Facebook’s Review Tags feature by going to Settings and Timeline and Tagging. 11/11 Delete your account To permanently delete your Facebook account, you need to head to Facebook’s Delete Account page. The site can take up to 90 days to process account deletion requests, but once your account's gone, it’s gone. You can deactivate your account instead, by going to Security and Login in the Settings menu. 1/11 Clean up your News Feed Most of us are Facebook friends with some people we don’t actually care about, and there are several ways to keep their updates off your News Feed. The easi

'Racist' FaceApp photo filters encouraged users to black up

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