Both Instagram and Snapchat have temporarily disabled their Giphy GIF sticker features after reports of a racist GIF on the platforms surfaced.
The sticker was first discovered on Snapchat, which temporarily made the GIF feature unavailable while the issue was attended to by Giphy. When Snapchat and Instagram introduced Giphy stickers for Stories, they expected to offer PG-rated GIFs that even their young patrons can use. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned.
According to Snapchat, “As soon as we were made aware, we removed the GIF and have disabled Giphy until we can be sure that this won’t happen again… while we wait for Giphy’s team to take a look at it.”
Twitter user Lyauna Augmon spotted the racist GIF on Instagram and demanded founder Kevin Systrom take it down. She wrote, “This blatant RACISM @instagram @kevin is unacceptable.” The GIF features the words, “N***** Crime Death Counter,” with visuals of a number counter, a monkey, and a man holding a microphone, saying, “Keep Cranking Bonzo, the Numbers Just Keep on Climbing!”
Warning: The image below may be disturbing to some:
A spokesperson from Snapchat said that the company has removed the racist GIF and explained that Giphy does not allow anything that slanders, demeans, or belittles another group or person based upon their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The sticker had apparently appeared on the platform due to a bug affecting the moderation filters and GIF stickers. The company has fixed the issue and apologized for the racist GIF.
Giphy is a very new addition to both social media platforms. Instagram added the feature in January and Snapchat only just partnered with Giphy in February. And in regards to Snapchat, this isn’t their first run-in with racist content. Back in 2016 it was heavily criticized for creating an Asian “yellowface” stereotype augmented reality lens that gave people slanted eyes.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.