‘Wrong on so many levels’: Internet hammers ‘digital blackface’ app for adding race-based photo filters
Photo app FaceApp stirred controversy this week when it announced that it would add new race-based photo filters that would let users change their appearance to make themselves look white, black or Asian.
The newest update to the app, which rolled out on Wednesday morning, announced four new filters that users could choose from: “Asian, Black, Caucasian, and Indian.”
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 designed to be derogatory toward any individual race or ethnicity.
“The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects,” he explained. “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.”
Nonetheless, many across the web were outraged by FaceApp’s decision to add “digital blackface” options, and the app got hammered all across social media.
Some choice reactions follow below.
"Our latest FaceApp filter allows any user to apply a digital black– hear me out– face."
— David Lawrance (@davidlawrance) August 9, 2017
FaceApp giving people the ability to easily make ill-advised blackface jokes seems like selling very flammable silly string. Bad idea.
— 𝕂𝕖𝕧𝕚𝕟 (@KevinBuist) August 9, 2017
(FaceApp board meeting)
"Our app is popular."
"What if it could be more popular?"
(Everyone leans in)
"Get this: racism."
— Good Tweetman (@Goodtweet_man) August 9, 2017
HOLY SHIT did Faceapp (the app with a "hot" filter which lightens your skin) seriously just add a blackface mode?? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK pic.twitter.com/HNazTkL45v
— moth dad ➡️ gay disaster committee (@innesmck) August 9, 2017
Can someone tell me why the app FaceApp has launched racial filters??? Wrong on so many levels. pic.twitter.com/TkAVpXTm3y
— cass (@cassidysholmes) August 9, 2017
Erm, no, FaceApp. Don't do this. pic.twitter.com/d9gZpD9CY3
— Bogey Lowenstein 🦉 (@beggie_smalls) August 9, 2017