Snapchat Executives Apologize for Juneteenth’s ‘Chain’ Filter

June 22, 2020 0Blog

Source: Pressinside Daily

An executive from Snapchat’s parent company apologized for the controversial Juneteenth filter who passed the company review process despite input from black employees.

Oona King, vice president of diversity, equality and the inclusion of Snap, dismissed allegations that the company launched a filter that asked users to smile to “break the chains of slavery” without consulting black staff.

“Mistakes of characterization on social media – that white executives at technology companies fail, once again, to include Black’s perspective – are completely untrue,” King, who is black, told employees in a letter on Saturday. “What is true is that despite our diverse backgrounds, we are all human beings, and humans make mistakes.”

King said black employees were “fully involved” in creating and approving the filter but acknowledged that Snap officials failed to realize how it could offend people on a holiday that marked the release of black Americans from slavery. Snapchat pulled the filter and apologized after triggering Friday’s reaction.

“This error has taught us valuable lessons, and I sincerely apologize that it came at the expense of what we meant as a respectful warning on this important day,” King said in the letter, which published by The Verge. Snap spokesman confirmed its authenticity for The Post.

Snap is still looking for where the idea for what is called “Lens” originated, said a company spokesman. But black staff were among those who suggested using a smile to “trigger” the effect while two white employees questioned whether it was appropriate, according to King.

King’s team reviewed the filter “from the perspective of Black’s creative content” but failed to consider how it would look when used by people who were not black, he said.

“We feel very welcome as black people to celebrate the end of slavery – as we do with picnics, BBQs, street parties and other forms of celebration throughout America – and say‘ Smile! Happy Juneteenth; we are no longer enslaved! But we are also not truly free! “King wrote.” But for white people to tell black people: ‘Smile! You are no longer a slave who offends extreme feelings.”

Unlike other Silicon Valley giants, Snap has never released a report on the diversity of its workforce. The company has plans to openly release its diversity data, “along with additional context and our plans for meaningful change,” said a Snap spokesman.


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