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Snapchat has removed a Juneteenth filter that required users to smile in order to break a series of chains in the backdrop behind them, acknowledging that it was “offensive” and went live before being properly reviewed by the company.
The filter used the Pan-African flag as a backdrop. As users of the app smiled, chains appeared behind them and broke. After the filter went live Friday morning, some users took to social media to criticize it for being insensitive.
Snapchat wrote in a message on Twitter, “We deeply apologize for the offensive Juneteenth lens. The lens that went live hadn’t been approved through our review process. We are investigating so this doesn’t happen again.”
In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, a Snapchat spokesperson confirmed that the filter has been removed and gave further clarity on the incident. “A diverse group of Snap team members were involved in developing the concept, but a version of the Lens that went live for Snapchatters this morning had not been approved by our review process.”
Friday, June 19, marks the Juneteenth holiday, celebrating the 155th year since the last slaves were freed in the U.S. in 1865. Many companies are closed in recognition, while events are being held nationwide.
We deeply apologize for the offensive Juneteenth Lens. The Lens that went live hadn’t been approved through our review process. We are investigating so this doesn’t happen again.
— Snapchat (@Snapchat) June 19, 2020
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