Snapchat removes Juneteenth filter that asked users to smile to break chains

Janelle Griffith

Snapchat apologized Friday for a Juneteenth filter that prompted users to smile to break chains that appeared on screen.

Mark Luckie, a digital strategist and journalist, posted a video of himself using the filter to Twitter, where it went viral and drew criticism for being insensitive.

"This SnapChat #Juneteenth filter," Luckie tweeted. "Smile to break the chains? Okay then."

Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The filter featured a Pan-African flag as a backdrop and prompted users to smile, which caused chains to appear behind them and then break. It also included the words "Juneteenth Freedom Day."

Snapchat said the version of the lens that went live Friday morning had not been approved through its review process.

"We deeply apologize to the members of the Snapchat community who found this Lens offensive," the company said. "We are investigating why this mistake occurred so that we can avoid it in the future."

After the filter was removed, Luckie tweeted, "Well many thanks to you @Snapchat. Now hire more black people."