Snapchat Sorry for Juneteenth Filter That Had Users ‘Smile’ to Break Chains

Photography News

Snapchat has apologized after releasing and then pulling a Juneteenth camera filter that prompted users to “smile” to break the chains of slavery.

The new filter was launched Friday morning to celebrate the emancipation of slaves in the United States, and it had “Smile” displayed across a user’s live selfie view. When a smile was detected, an animation of chains breaking appeared behind the user.



It didn’t take long for the filter to draw criticism for being tone-deaf.

“[T]his is what happens when you don’t have any black people on the product design team,” Tweeted Ashten Winger, a developer who previously worked at Snap.

Snapchat quickly reacted by pulling it just hours after the launch and issuing public apologies.

“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,” Snapchat tells The Verge. “We are investigating why this mistake occurred so that we can avoid it in the future.”


Image credits: Header still frames by Mark S. Luckie (@marksluckie) and Friendly Black Mami (@_BodyBySunny)

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