Selfie app introduces new racial filters
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 swopping and transforming apps.
In fact, FaceApp had to pull a “hot” filter in April, after users discovered 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 the filter tried to make everyone look whiter to make them look more attractive. The company apologised.
FaceApp’s new additions were discovered by a Mic reporter who had not deleted the app from her phone after its brief surge to popularity earlier this year. FaceApp sent a push alert to its users about the new filters on Wednesday in order to promote them.
As face-swopping apps like FaceApp have become better at transforming the faces of their users, the debate over what, exactly, they permit has intensified.
FaceApp chief executive 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.” – Washington Post