Snapchat goofed up big-time with the launch of its latest selfie lens, which added facial features similar to those of racist Asian caricatures to users’ faces.
Nobody asked for this. And yet, for some reason, Snapchat thought this was a good idea.
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— k #STUCK (@engravedhearts) August 9, 2016
Snapchat told The Verge that the filter was “inspired by anime, and was meant to be playful.”
It isn’t the first time the ephemeral messaging service has messed up like this. In April, it released a Bob Marley lens on 4/20, which not only reduced the celebrated musician’s legacy to his affinity for marijuana but also changed users’ skin color and gender.
It’s troubling to see such callousness in a service that’s growing as quickly as Snapchat is around the world. Sure, we’re all human and will certainly make mistakes when building things. But is it beyond the company’s capabilities to test their lenses with audiences before releasing them widely?
hi snapchat if you want to hire me and pay me silicon valley money to tell you if filters are racist or not i can totally do that job
— Dunkirk Trailer (@DavidUzumeri) August 10, 2016
It’s really not that hard.