The CEO Of FaceApp Has Apologized For Its Skin-Whitening “Hot” Filter

Yaroslav Goncharov told The FADER he is “deeply sorry” after accusations of whitewashing were leveled at his popular app.

April 25, 2017


FaceApp is the latest filter-based morphing app to go viral. Pictures of users looking older, younger, and gender-swapping have flooded Twitter and Instagram in the past few weeks. The artificial intelligence app was created in Russia and launched back in January of this year. However, its recent success has been met with accusations of whitewashing by some users.

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Included in the filters available to users is an option to make yourself "more attractive," CEO and founder Yaroslav Goncharov told TechCrunch in February. However, some users have complained that the "hot" filter lightens the skin and radically alters facial features.

So this app is apparently racist as hell. But at least I'm sassy. #faceapp

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Yaroslav Goncharov, CEO and founder of the company behind FaceApp, has acknowledged the criticisms and issued an apology. "We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue," he said in a statement given to The FADER. "It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior."

Goncharov confirmed that the "hot" filter has been renamed "spark" to exclude any positive connotation" while they work on a more "complete fix." At the time of writing the renamed feature still visibly lightens your skin.

The CEO Of FaceApp Has Apologized For Its Skin-Whitening “Hot” Filter