FaceApp Pulls Racist ‘Blackface Filters’ Following Widespread Internet Backlash
By Kylie Woon, 11 Aug 2017
FaceApp is a popular source of entertainment for those who enjoy transforming their faces—but how far is too far when it comes to transforming into someone else’s identity?
When FaceApp released four new filters earlier this week, widespread criticism forced it to quickly pull them down again. Why? The filters were race-based, and allowed users to transform into Caucasian, Asian, Indian or Black faces.
Netizens found this troubling, comparing the filters to blackface and accusing the app of perpetuating the notion that playing dress-up in somebody’s racial identity is acceptable.
The classification of ‘Indian’ as separate from ‘Asian’ was also seen as problematic, as it further perpetuates an incorrect but widespread notion that ‘Asian’ can only refer to East Asian individuals, when in reality the Indian subcontinent is undoubtedly a part of Asia.
It is not the first time FaceApp has found itself in hot water—a few months ago, it faced similar condemnations for a beautifying filter that significantly lightened skin, implying darker skin was less attractive.
Why can’t a simple race-based filter be seen as just some casual fun? Some say it can, but others argue that racial identities are often accompanied by discrimination and violence which simply can’t be “turned off” with the touch of a button—unlike a filter. Therefore, to make a “costume” of a race is to make light of those deeper issues.
What do you think? Take a look at some Twitter reactions below.
FaceApp's 'ethnicity filters' are a pretty terrible idea. Like, maybe one of the worst ideas. https://t.co/kV09pNpWRs— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) August 9, 2017
me and my three ethnically diverse half brothers unequivocally condemn the new faceapp filters pic.twitter.com/uMNfIrb73f— Alex Nichols (@Lowenaffchen) August 9, 2017
Everyone loves FaceApp, the phone app that adds smiles and wrinkles to your friends' faces!— Jennifer Unkle (@jbu3) August 9, 2017
We regret to inform you that FaceApp is racist pic.twitter.com/2tRSlcfWdc
Wow... FaceApp really setting the bar for racist AR with its awful new update that includes Black, Indian and Asian "race filters" pic.twitter.com/Lo5kmLvoI9— Lucas Matney (@lucasmtny) August 9, 2017
This new FaceApp update is whack pic.twitter.com/G3hadwrAkv— Todd 'Papi' Carlos (@TheToddWilliams) August 9, 2017
[via The Guardian, opening image via FaceApp]
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