snapchat juneteenth filter smile chains

Mark S. Luckie/Twitter

Snapchat criticized for ‘tone-deaf’ Juneteenth filter

A lot of people called it out.

Jun 19, 2020, 3:37 pm*

Internet Culture

Andrew Wyrich 

Andrew Wyrich

Snapchat removed a face filter meant to commemorate Juneteenth after users called out the tech giant for being “tone-deaf.”

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The filter prompted users to smile, after which chains would break behind them. The filter had the Pan-African flag as the backdrop.

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The filter was pointed out by Mark Luckie, a digital strategist, on Twitter. He called it “interesting,” clearly questioning the choice.

“This SnapChat #Juneteenth filter is…um…interesting. Smile to break the chains? Okay then,” Luckie wrote.

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Juneteenth is a holiday dating back to 1865 celebrating when slaves in Texas found out about the Emancipation Proclamation two years after it has been signed.

Snapchat did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the Daily Dot. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

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The filter was axed by Snapchat on Friday, according to CNBC, but not before a lot of people online criticized it, calling it “tone-deaf.”

Snapchat Juneteenth Filter
@smtv_97/Twitter
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Snapchat Juneteenth Filter
@smtv_97/Twitter
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Snapchat Juneteenth Filter
@MsChavN/Twitter

This isn’t the first time the company’s face filters have raised concerns.

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Its gender-swap filter, a Bob Marley blackface filter for 4/20, and others have also faced backlash.

Update 3:35 pm CT, June 19: After the publication of this article, Snapchat told the Daily Dot the filter going out to users was a mistake and it was not approved as part of the company’s review process.

“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 through our review process,” a Snap spokesperson said. “We are investigating why this mistake occurred so that we can avoid it in the future.”

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*First Published: Jun 19, 2020, 11:50 am