Users were encouraged to smile, which would break chains
The lens had the Pan-African flag as a backdrop and prompted Snapchatters to smile, which caused chains to appear and then break.
Digital strategist Mark Luckie—who worked at Facebook, Reddit and Twitter in recent years, after journalism roles with outlets including The Washington Post, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Entertainment Weekly and the Los Angeles Times—was among those who called out Snapchat Friday morning, sharing a video of the lens in a tweet.
A spokesperson for Snap Inc. said, “We deeply apologize to the members of the Snapchat community who found this lens offensive. 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. We are investigating why this mistake occurred so that we can avoid it in the future.”
Snapchat had a similar issue in 2016, when it was panned for releasing a Bob Marley lens April 20 of that year, both for appearing to associate Marley with marijuana culture on its biggest day of the year and for using the digital equivalent of blackface.
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