The AI-based selfie editing tool FaceApp has released a batch of new smart filters created to swap the user's race.
FaceApp CEO Yaroslav Goncharov defended the Asian, Black, Caucasian and Indian filters in an email to The Verge: "The ethnicity change filters have been created to be equal in all aspects", he told The Verge over email.
In a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday, FaceApp founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov said that the new filters do not have racist intentions. "They don't have any positive or negative connotations associated with them".
The app has already faced controversy for the short-lived "hot" filter that just lightened users skin, but this is a whole new level of fucked up.
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This is the original selfie I submitted to the app.. Add a lovely smile. "In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order", he added. Get younger or older. And now, the app is being called out again: A new update allows users to change their facial features to mimic another race.
Since the advent of Snapchat, filters have become one of the hottest social media app features.
And although FaceApp's "digital blackface" filter is receiving backlash now, it isn't the company or the industry's first run-in with racial stereotyping. "It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour", Goncharov told the Guardian.
The "ethnicity change" filters can only be used in conjunction with each other as part of a collage, presumably to show the contrast between the original photo and the race-swapped photos.
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