Snapchat under fire for featuring a “racist” filter

Snapchat under fire for featuring a “racist” filter
Snapchat lenses are among the app's most fun features, and probably the main reason why some users still stick with the app. It's an innovative take on filters, where the app detects and tracks the user's face and can place various masks on it in real time, making for fun pictures or videos. A while ago, the company planned to monetize lenses by having some of them locked behind a paywall, and having users buy them if they want to keep them in their library. Instead, however, Snapchat chose to keep them free, but cycle through them in time intervals. As a result, lenses have an exclusive feel, as they may disappear at any time with no one knowing when they would be back — a cool move to motivate users to use the app as much as possible, as their favorite lens might soon be gone.

Having to come up with new, fun, and engaging lenses as often probably puts quite the pressure on the development team and stepping on somebody's toes is often a possibility. The company has been scrutinized before for it's “Bob Marley” lens, which made the user look like the famous singer. However, social... let's say socially engaged users noted that the filter has a racist tone to it, due to the fact that it paints the pictured person's face black – the so-called “Blackface” effect, which is often frowned upon when used in any type of media.

With the latest batch of new lenses, Snapchat added a new one, which it says is “anime-inspired”. However, some users found it to be offensive and took to Twitter, quickly dubbing it “Yellowface”. The filter in question changes the person's skin tone to be lighter and smoother, arguably yellow-ish, adds a blush to their cheeks, rounds out the face, and adds squinty, anime-styled eyes. According to posts, this could be taken as a jab at people of Asian descent.

Naturally, the lens has now been removed and will not return in the future. Snapchat did not go as far as to apologize in its response to the scrutiny, but it did note that lenses are meant to be fun, not offensive to any one group of people. Most probably the filter in question was meant for fans of anime shows and manga comics, but oh well – sorry, you can't use it now.

When all is said and done, one has to wonder – are the raccoon and bunny lenses offensive to furries?



source: The Guardian via Digital Trends

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22 Comments

1. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

People need to grow the f**k up and stop being offended by everything.

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Do these offended people look at any cartoons? Then why not go after all the cartoons. This crap has too stop. Well no biggie. Since Snapchat supports custom lenses, then snap or someone else should release this one for free to the public.

8. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah right, even Japanese won't be offended by that filter (not sarcasm, lol) even if they offended, it's more because it's not "anime" enough.. it should have huge sparkling eyes, and colorful and weirdly shaped hair..

21. Chuck007

Posts: 1412; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

This. But no, the media won't want that. Where else will they find clickbait material? Distractions from real world issues?

2. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

lol people are full of s**t. it just makes you look like another race in cartoons what the hell is wrong about that?

3. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Some people just needs a high five.... in the face... with a vase... and on fire.

15. skips

Posts: 488; Member since: Oct 04, 2015

replace the vase with a brick and we have a deal

19. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

a burning vase containing a burning brick.. Done Deal :D

4. niklashofmann2016

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 11, 2016

Is there a filter that deletes easily offended people?

6. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

People these days are getting offended by everything. Stop spoon feeding them and maybe they will learn how to grow some balls.

9. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

So anime characters are complaining?

10. JaredTheWolf

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 11, 2016

Speaking personally: a) I think this is ridiculous. People have been doing "anime faces" for ages. b) I get it was a joke line, but no, the furry fandom doesn't get offended by animal filters. I know some love it, but I just don't use them because they don't fit my character design.

11. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Whoop whoop, it's the sound of the PC police!

12. skips

Posts: 488; Member since: Oct 04, 2015

when will this "pc bullsh*t" phase end - these people are acting beyond retarded on overblown issues. a bunch of manbabies smh

13. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

Im so f**king ashamed that im part of this mentally retarded generation!!

18. Andrewtst

Posts: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Those thinking this is racist is stupid moron. lol what a real nonsense people nowadays.

20. ztkells

Posts: 41; Member since: Jan 26, 2011

This is just embarrassing. Easy to see why Trump will win presidency in the US. Most of us understand, people need to get their balls back and stop being offended by just seeing another person face to face instead over FaceTime or something else stupid. Oh my God. That person just texted me and didn't even use an emoji. Like wtf.

22. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

I don't use Snapchat. Its interface looks awful. Seeing those pixelated images burn my eyes. In addition, there are lots of vain people.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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