'Wrong on so many levels': Internet reacts to 'digital blackface' app

FaceApp's ill-advised new update adds 'ethnicity filters'

That's right, the app's latest update, which was first flagged by Mic, offers "Caucasian", "Asian", "Indian", and "Black" filters, altering selfies with "ethnic" features that are essentially a four-pack of insanely racist imagery. In April the company added a "hot" filter that everyone quickly realized just attempts to make everyone look whiter.

A photo editing and selfie app called FaceApp took the internet by storm earlier this year.

It's always nice when you can see the full arc of a awful idea play out in a short span of time, from initial, overly confident execution, to almost-immediate backlash, to being forced to flee in shame. Would you wear blackface as a Halloween costume?

Look, I can barely contain my excitement. I can't pinpoint just which country this "Asian" face is supposed to be from, but it's clearly not the Philippines. "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.

Things have gone over as well as you'd expect from a face-filter app that made a decision to dabble in digital blackface.

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FaceApp creator Yaroslav Goncharov defended the decision to add race-based filters in an interview with Mic where he said that none of the filters were created to be derogatory toward any individual race or ethnicity.

"The ethnicity change filters have been created to be equal in all aspects", Goncharov explained.

"They don't have any positive or negative connotations associated with them", he added. "They are even represented by the same icon", Goncharov wrote. "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.

Unlike Snapchat, however, FaceApp seems to have designed its new filters with one goal in mind: to let users "try on" racial phenotypes the way they would a flower crown or puppy ears.

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