Snapchat has gone through a bad 24 hours. The popular image-sharing app debuted a new filter, “anime,” that was swiftly criticized for its racist depiction of East Asians and just as swiftly got pulled. The company is trying to contain the fallout, but lost amid the outrage is the fact that this isn’t an isolated incident. Snapchat has, intentionally or not, a racism problem.
The “anime” filter can be layered over the user’s eyes with closed lids and distorted their faces with the goal of looking more like anime characters. It looks about as bad as it sounds, and users went after Snapchat once they got a look at it. The filter alone is more or less a public-relations nightmare, as Snapchat got raked over the coals: