FaceApp is that one app which has become very popular among internet users for allowing them to age their portraits, to make them younger or to even alter their appearance. However, people have been criticizing the app for failing to offer racial alternatives and for sometimes whitening the skin to make the portraits prettier. Because of this, the Russian developers of this very popular app have recently created and introduced four filters which display different races: Black, Asian, Caucasian and Indian. According to the users, by selecting one of those filters, the app will alter their portraits accordingly.
New and controversial racial filters
The new filters not only change the skin color of a person, but also their eye color and hair color. Many have characterized this attempt as a way of dressing up as people of various ethnicities. However, it seems like the filters have caused a wave of controversy among users. It seems like FaceApp is facing a similar fate with Snapchat. The latter received harsh criticism when it launched a Bob Marley mask filter. This attempt is interesting because many users have pointed out various problems in the app even before the introduction of those filters. They have claimed that their skin was becoming lighter in order to make their appearance more pleasant.
At the time, the company publicly offered an apology. Yaroslav Goncharov, its CEO, said that it was all a “side-effect”. According to him, the software it uses to change people’s appearance was used to work only on white people. Because of this, it only considered pretty those people with a lighter skin tone. This issue is not at all uncommon, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence. Because the developers only train it on specific elements, it becomes a problem. Especially when it comes to racial differences which can really hurt people.
Apologies from the developers
Even if after the introduction of those filters, the CEO of FaceApp claimed that they are meant as an encouragement for people to see all races as beautiful, he later changed his opinion. Yesterday, he apologized and promised to remove them as soon as possible. It seems like the controversy and the people’s opinion made him take this path.
Image source: hitechgazette