FaceApp is a smartphone app that lets users spruce up their selfies using a variety of filters, including younger, older and smiley-faced options. As part of a new update, features have also been added to allow users to further edit their photos using filters based on “Black,” “Indian,” and “Asian” races.
Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with many people, accusing developer Wireless Lab OOO with racial insensitivity.
The company initially defended the new features. “The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects,” CEO Yaroslav Goncharov told news outlets in a statement. “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, in a new statement sent out, Goncharov said “the new controversial filters will be removed in the next few hours.”
The company previously got into hot water over the “hot” filter designed to make pictures more “attractive.” To do this, however, FaceApp would turn users’ pictures “whiter” in skin colour — regardless of their race. “It is an unfortunate side effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior,” Goncharov had said, later pulling the feature from the app.
It should go without saying, but FaceApp should serve as an example to developers to be mindful of the kinds of content that go into their apps, lest situations like these arise.
Via: The Verge