Snapchat has removed a filter that was said to be racist against East Asian people and they have vowed to never use Snapchat ever again.
The filter grotesque people’s facial features so that they’re eyelashes looked wider and as if they were drawn as a cartoon. Snapchat has said that the filter was meant to be homage to anime drawings – but others pointed out that it looked an awful lot like caricatures of East Asian people. The filter was quickly removed from Snapchat. The company has said that it won’t be coming back into use.
The company said the lenses were intended to be “playful” and it never meant to offend anyone. But deleting the filter wasn’t enough to please some users, who said that they were going to stop using the app because of the filter. Some described Snapchat as having acted “like Trump” – “clearly racist and with the maturity of a third grader”.
The controversy follows an almost identical criticism of a “Weed Day” filter earlier this year, which turned people into a look alike of Bob Marley. That was given the go-ahead by Mr Marley’s estate but was criticized by many of its users, who said that it was a technological form of blackface.
The app has come under fire for more subtle forms of racism too. For example, many of the filters that it makes to “beautify” people’s faces tend to lighten them or make them more white, it was pointed pointed out.