FaceApp Accused Of Being Racist After Lightening Skin Tones

The app’s controversial ‘hot’ feature lightens skin tone in selfies.

FaceApp
FaceApp The 'racist' app Image FaceApp

FaceApp has been courting controversy after being branded ‘racist’.

The popular photo editing app has come under fire for lightening skin tones in selfies through the use of facial recognition technology.

The ‘hot’ setting on the service, which is supposed to make people’s selfies better looking, lightens the skin of users.I t also enlarges the eyes of the user, and many people have taken to Twitter to accuse the service of racism and whitewashing.

The filter has since been renamed ‘spark’, but not before the ‘hot’ feature caused a great deal of controversy online.

FaceApp founder Yaroslav Goncharov told BBC News: “We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue.

“It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour.”

He added: “To mitigate the issue, we have renamed the effect to exclude any positive connotation associated with it.”

FaceApp has proven incredibly popular amongst mobile users recently, and also features filters which can add age or make the user look younger, as well as making people smile or swapping gender.

It’s not the first time a filter has gotten companies like Faceapp in trouble. A Bob Marley filter on Snapchat landed the company in hot water, after it was accused of ‘blackface’.

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Loaded staff writer Harry Fletcher has covered news, sport and entertainment for several major websites across the UK. Follow him on Twitter at @Harry__Fletcher.