FaceApp has pulled its most recent filter, which allowed users to change the race of their images, after getting intense backlash for what many called “digital blackface.”
The filter, which launched on Wednesday, allowed users to chose from four races: Caucasian, Asian, Indian or Black.
The company drew immediate criticism, with technology site The Verge describing it as “tantamount to a sort of digital blackface, ‘dressing up’ as different ethnicities” and TechCruch saying the app “seems to be getting a little too focused on races rather than faces.”
At first, the company replied to the controversy by saying that they were not trying to create blackface.
“They don’t have any positive or negative connotations associated with them,” the company’s chief executive Yaroslav Goncharov said. “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.”
But by 5 p.m., the company had pulled the new filter, and within a few hours, users could no longer access the filters.
The new filters had only been up for a few hours before they were pulled.