In case you noticed that something may be missing on your Instagram and Snapchat apps, well, it’s not just your phone. Both applications have temporarily taken down their GIPHY integration in response to a racist GIF that somehow slipped through their content moderation filters.
The extremely racist GIF, whose censored version you can see below from Tech Crunch, apparently came up when users searched for the keyword “crime.” First discovered on Snapchat and immediately disabled afterwards, it wasn’t long before it was also found and taken down from Instagram.
Though users are still wondering how the GIF successfully made it to publication, it is possible that the image was able to slip past filters because the site also functions like a search engine that sources its top GIFs from the web. An investigation over the highly offensive material is currently underway, but in the mean time, GIPHY is charging it to a systems bug, which they mentioned in a statement they released to Tech Crunch.
“A user discovered an offensive GIF sticker in our library, and we immediately removed it per our content guidelines. After investigation of the incident, this sticker was available due to a bug in our content moderation filters specifically affecting GIF stickers. We have fixed the bug and have re-moderated all of the GIF stickers in our library. The GIPHY staff is also further reviewing every GIF sticker by hand and should be finished shortly. We take full responsibility for these recent events and sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.”
Both Snapchat and Instagram have also made public apologies, assuring that incidents like this will never happen again. While GIPHY, which allows users to upload their own images and graphics to the site, already has a set of community guidelines that prohibits posting sensitive and offensive material (including hate speech), this serves as a lesson to all platforms that extra measures must be taken in filtering user content and making the internet a safe space for everyone.
Text by Isabella Argosino
Header image sourced from Smoking Gun.