Snapchat has issued an apology for a questionable Juneteenth filter that asked users to smile in order to break the chains of slavery.
Snapchat has removed a Juneteenth-themed filter after receiving complaints for its tone deaf nature. The filter was intended to be used to celebrate Juneteenth, the annual holiday that recognizes the day that the last enslaved people in America were finally freed, but the app definitely missed the mark with the imagery, to say the least. When users press on the filter, a Pan-African flag appears in the background. They are then told to smile, at which point two chains appear onscreen and break, presumably to symbolize the freedom from slavery. However, many users took issue with how the filter trivialized the gravity of something like slavery. Former journalist Mark Luckie was one of the first to bring attention to the ridiculous feature when he shared a clip of himself trying it out, calling it "interesting."
Snapchat has since removed the filter and issued a response, claiming that it hadn't been screened properly for approval. "We deeply apologize to the members of the Snapchat community who found this Lens offensive," a spokesperson said in a statement. "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. We are investigating why this mistake occurred so that we can avoid it in the future."