MakeApp make-up remover gender stereotyping

Occurred: November 2017

MakeApp, a mobile application which enables users to add, alter or remove make-up from someone's face, suffered a backlash from users and commentators about its poor accuracy and the perception that its purpose objectifies and shames women. 

Many users complained that MakeApp's make-up removal filter, which commentators said was only developed by men, made them look worse than they would without makeup. Some also pointed out that it also makes them appear haggard and sallow. 

MakeApp founder Ashot Gabrelyanov responded to accusations of misogyny by saying, 'We built MakeApp as an experiment and released it into the wild a few months ago and unfortunately the media coverage solely focused on the make-up removal function of the app and characterised it as a bunch of 'tech bros' trying to hurt women, which is just so far from the truth'.

Operator: Apple; Magic Unicorn
Developer: Magic Unicorn

Country: USA

Sector: Beauty/cosmetics

Purpose: Add/remove make-up

Technology: Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - gender

Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: August 2023