FaceApp has come under fire before for its controversial “hot mode” filter, which lightened people’s skin, enlarged their eyes and removed their glasses. It was forced to apologise and change the name of the lens to “spark”.
The Russia-based company denied claims the new ethnic filters were racist, saying they do not employ positive or negative stereotypes. It did not apologise or say the lenses would be removed.
“The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects,” Yaroslav Goncharov, chief executive of FaceApp, told Mic. “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.”