The photo messaging app’s parent Snap announced on Friday that Snapchat took down a “Juneteenth”- themed filter and apologized to users for the lens, which drew criticism for being insensitive.
CNBC reported earlier in the day that the filter used the Pan-African flag as a backdrop and prompted users to smile, which caused chains to appear behind them and then break. Reuters could not verify the filter as it was no longer available.
A Snap spokesperson said in a statement that “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.”
June 19 commemorates the US abolition of slavery by President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which was belatedly announced in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865, after the end of the Civil War. Several companies, including Twitter and Nike, have declared June 19 a paid holiday for employees or reduced operating hours to commemorate Juneteenth.