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Users pushed back at the app, calling the filters “digital blackface.”

Veronica Hilbring
Aug, 11, 2017

Photo filters are extremely popular with social networking apps, but critics are saying the FaceApp took it too far. 

Popular phone application, FaceApp released a new set of filters this week designed to make the user look Black, Asian, Indian or Caucasian.

There was an immediate backlash to the new filters with users calling them “digital blackface.” The apps developer, Yaroslav Goncharov, initially denied the reports of racism. 

“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.“

The app originally had filters that added smiles, changed your age or gender and ‘beautified’ your face. Unlike SnapChat, FaceApp uses a different technology to change the photo itself.  

Goncharov later responded to media stating the controversial filters will be removed. 

This isn’t the first time an app has been accused of being racist. Goncharov issued an apology in April for a “hot” filter which automatically whitened users' skin. SnapChat was also previously under fire for its '4.20/Bob Marley' and ‘anime-inspired’ filters.