Snapchat’s 3D “Lens” feature — special effects applied over to a user’s face — is no stranger to controversy. As easy as you think it would be to create fun loving filters everyone will love, things have proven more difficult for the social media platform.
Not too long ago, the Snapchat came under fire over a Bob Marley 3D Lens filter that attempted to superimpose the late singer’s face on top of the user’s. Despite being endorsed by the family, there were those who complained the filter was little more than blackface and overtly offensive.
Now, an entirely new 3D Lens is once again causing backlash, with people calling it blatantly racist. According to Snapchat, the filter was designed to transform the user’s face into an anime-like character. For those not well-versed in anime, this is the look they were going for:
Instead, what people got was something many felt was a little more… offensive. Users immediately took to other social networks like Twitter to voice their opinions, where many interpreted it as a racially charged Asian caricature from years past, also known as yellowface.
Of course, it didn’t take long for Snapchat to catch wind of the issue, where the filter has been removed and likely never to return. Although it’s supposed to be lighthearted and and fun, morphing people’s faces with fun 3D masks is risky business. When it comes to Snapchat, it sounds like it could be doing more harm than good.