The latest photo editing blunder comes courtesy of FaceApp, a recently released app that quickly became popular for its transformative effects.
After taking a selfie or uploading a photo, you can apply one of the app's filters: "Smile 2," "Smile," "Old," "Young," "Female," "Male," or "Hot," whatever that means. "Smile 2" transforms a frown into a creepy, toothy grin. "Smile" widens that grin and plants pink circles on your cheeks. "Old" can turn you into a wrinkled, 90-year-old grandma. "Young" can make you look like you just emerged from the womb with baby-soft skin. And "Male" and "Female" can change certain aspects of your outward gender presentation. Many of these filters are questionable, and they all work to varying degrees of success (my "Smile" made me look like an axe murderer).
But it’s the app’s “Hot” filter that has come under the most fire. Twitter users quickly noticed that the filter, denoted by a flame icon, dramatically lightens your skin when you apply it to a selfie.
The filter has since been removed from the app, and creator Yaroslav Goncharov has apologized, saying that the app's artificial intelligence is at fault. “It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior," Goncharov told The Guardian in a statement.