Snapchat lets Giphy back onto its platform after racist GIF incident

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Snapchat has allowed Giphy back onto its platform after it was removed when users found a racist GIF on the database earlier this month, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. confirmed to The Verge. Instagram and Snapchat had both pulled Giphy from their platforms, but Instagram reinstated Giphy last week, with stricter moderation. Snapchat confirmed today that it would bring Giphy back since it has upgraded its moderation.

The GIF initially appeared when users searched “crime” on the Giphy database, and it showed a white announcer celebrating the death of people of color while using a racial slur. Giphy has since apologized for the slip-up, and the company says it has combed through its database several times to detect any other problematic…

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Snapchat reinstates Giphy stickers following removal of racist GIFs

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Last month, both Snapchat and Instagram pulled Giphy stickers from their apps after users discovered a racist GIF with a slur. At the time, Giphy said that it had removed the GIF in question and fixed the bug that let it through. It also said it woul…
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Snapchat brings back GIPHY after removal due to racist GIF

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After a racial slur GIF caused Snapchat to remove its GIPHY sticker feature, Snapchat confirms to TechCrunch it’s reinstated its integration. GIPHY has apologized, fixed the bug that let the objectionable GIF slip through, and reviewed its GIF sticker library four times in an effort to guarantee that offensive content won’t end up in apps that embed it. Instagram had also removed GIPHY, but reinstated it last week with Snapchat saying it had nothing to share yet.

A Snap spokesperson told TechCrunch that over the past several weeks, the Snap team worked with GIPHY to revamp its moderation systems. Now Snap is confident that the fresh approach will protect users, so its brought the GIF stickers back. They let people embellish their photos and videos with overlaid animated illustrations and video clips.

So ends a month-long ordeal that started when a U.K. user spotted a GIF containing a racial slur for people of color. Snapchat removed the GIPHY feature as press backlash in the U.K. mounted. Instagram wasn’t aware of the issue until informed by TechCrunch, leading it to remove the GIPHY feature within an hour.

Warning: We’ve shared a censored version of the GIF below, but it still includes graphic content that may be offensive to some users.

The situation highlights the risks of working with outside developers that aren’t entirely under a platform’s control. Piping in external utilities lets apps quickly expand their offering to users. But if developers misuse people’s data, deliver broken functionality, or let objectionable content through, it can reflect poorly on the app hosting them. Facebook is currently dealing with this backlash surrounding Cambridge Analytica. Meanwhile, Instagram just severely restricted its APIs without warning, breaking many developers’ apps in what’s believed to be part of Facebook’s push to shore up data privacy.

Favoring news publishers, Snapchat historically never actively embraced developers, banning use of outside apps that require your Snapchat credentials. It’s more recently started letting devs build and promote their own augmented reality lenses. But after this set-back, we’ll have to see if Snapchat becomes any more reluctant to work with partners.

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Instagram reenables GIF sharing after GIPHY promises no more racism

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A racial slur GIF slipped into GIPHY’s sticker library earlier this month, prompting Instagram and Snapchat to drop their GIPHY integrations. Now Instagram is reactivating after GIPHY confirmed its reviewed its GIF library four times and will preemptively review any new GIFs it adds. Snapchat said it had nothing to share right now about whether it’s going to reactivate GIPHY.

“We’ve been in close contact with GIPHY throughout this process and we’re confident that they have put measures in place to ensure that Instagram users have a good experience” an Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch. GIPHY told TechCrunch in a statement that “To anyone who was affected: we’re sorry. We take full responsibility for this recent event and under no circumstances does
GIPHY condone or support this kind of content . . . We have also finished a full investigation into our content moderations systems and processes and have made specific changes to our process to ensure soemthing like this does not happen again.”

We first reported Instagram was building a GIPHY integration back in January before it launched a week later, with Snapchat adding a similar feature in February. But it wasn’t long before things went wrong. First spotted by a user in the U.K. around March 8th, the GIF included a racial slur. We’ve shared a censored version of the image below, but warning, it still includes graphic content that may be offensive to some users.

When asked, Snapchat told TechCrunch ““We have removed GIPHY from our application until we can be assured that this will never happen again.” Instagram wasn’t aware that the racist GIF was available in its GIPHY integration until informed by TechCrunch, leading to a shut down of the feature within an hour. An Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch “This type of content has no place on Instagram.” After 12 hours of silence, GIPHY responded the next morning, telling us “After investigation of the incident, this sticker was available due to a bug in our content moderation filters specifically affecting GIF stickers.”

The fiasco highlights the risks of major platforms working with third-party developers to brings outside and crowdsourced content into their apps. While it’s an easy way to provide more entertainment and creative expression tools, it also forces companies to rely on the quality and safety of things they don’t fully control.

GIPHY’s full statement is below.

CHANGES TO GIPHY’S STICKER MODERATION
Before we get into the details, we wanted to take a moment and sincerely apologize for the
deeply offensive sticker discovered by a user on March 8, 2018. To anyone who was affected:
we’re sorry. We take full responsibility for this recent event and under no circumstances does
GIPHY condone or support this kind of content.
The content was immediately removed and after investigation a bug was found in our content
moderation filters affecting stickers. This bug was immediately fixed and all stickers were re-
moderated.
We have also finished a full investigation into our content moderation systems and processes
and have made specific changes to our process to ensure something like this does not happen
again.

THE CHANGES
After fixing the bug in our content moderation filters and confirming that the sticker was
successfully detected, we re-moderated our entire sticker library 4x.
We have also added another level of GIPHY moderation before each sticker is approved into
the library. This is now a permanent addition to our moderation process.
We hope this will ensure that GIPHY stickers will always be fun and safe no matter where you
see them.

THE FUTURE AND BEYOND
GIFs and Stickers are supposed to make the Internet a better, more entertaining place.
GIPHY is committed to making sure that’s always the case. As GIPHY continues to grow, we’re
going to continue looking for ways to improve our user experience. Please let us know how we
can help at: support@giphy.com.
Team Giphy.

 

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Snapchat and Instagram remove Giphy feature due to racial slur GIF

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Snapchat and Instagram have temporarily removed their Giphy GIF sticker features after users saw an extremely racist GIF as an option to add to their images. Snapchat confirms to TechCrunch “As soon as we were made aware, we removed the GIF and have disabled Giphy until we can be sure that this won’t happen again . . . while we wait for Giphy’s team to take a look at it.”

A source tells TechCrunch the same racist GIF was spotted in Instagram as well, indicating that Giphy is at fault. A tweet by Lyauna Augmon shows the GIF being used within Instagram. Giphy appears to have removed the GIF as it’s no longer available in Instagram. An Instagram spokesperson tells TechCrunch “This type of content has no place on Instagram. We have stopped our integration with Giphy as they investigate the issue.” The company confirms the change has been made but might take some time to propagate to all users.

[Update: This article has been updated to show that the GIF also appeared on Instagram, not just Snapchat.]

The Snapchat spokesperson says that all GIFs in Snapchat are meant to be “rated PG,” meaning they’re mostly suitable for the 13-and-up teens that are technically allowed on Snapchat.

The GIF includes disturbing text including a racial slur, which TechCrunch has blurred out below. It reads “N—– Crime Death Counter – Keep Cranking Bonzo, the Numbers Just Keep on Climbing!” TechCrunch received a screenshot of the GIF on Snapchat from a reader. Warning: The image below may be disturbing to some:

Snapchat’s official statement is “We have removed GIPHY from our application until we can be assured that this will never happen again.” A Snapchat spokesperson tells me the company is very sorry. The Giphy community guidelines prohibit this kind of objectionable content in the first place, but since it works like a search engine that indexes the top GIFs on the web, things can slip through.

Here’s the version spotted on Instagram, censored by TechCrunch:

We’ve reached out to Giphy for comment but haven’t heard back.

[Update 3/10: Giphy has now provided a statement to TechCrunch, admitting it was to blame for a bug allowing the offensive GIF through. A spokesperson tells us:

“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.”

Snapchat only launched the Giphy integration on February 20th so people could jazz up their photos and videos with moving images curated as safe by the Giphy team. TechCrunch broke the news on Instagram building a similar Giphy integration in late January, which launched a week later.

This isn’t Snapchat’s first run-in with racist content. Back in 2016 it was heavily criticized for creating an Asian “yellowface” stereotype augmented reality lens that gave people slanted eyes. Snapchat risks an unsavory reputation if it can’t keep its content under control. The slip-up could deter Snapchat from working more with outside developers, which it’s only recently allowed to bring content into its app via its Lens Studio and the Giphy integration.

The incident is embarrassing for Instagram’s parent company Facebook. It also casts doubt on Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, which also has Giphy integration that is only supposed to show G-rated imagery.

Snapchat and Instagram will have to decide whether they want help from outsiders even if it can’t guarantee the quality or safety of their content, or whether it will go it alone as they compete against each other.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Instagram & Snapchat remove Giphy integration due to sticker w/ racial slur

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Earlier this year, both Snapchat and Instagram added integration with popular GIF service Giphy, allowing users to add the stickers to their posts and stories. As first reported by TechCrunch, however, both social networks have now removed that integration due to a GIF with a racial slur…

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Snapchat and Instagram pull Giphy stickers over racist GIF

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When Snapchat and Instagram introduced Giphy stickers for Stories, they expected to offer PG-rated GIFs that even their young patrons can use. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned: both platforms have disabled the feature after users disc…
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Giphy held talks to raise a massive new funding round

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 We’re hearing from a number of sources that Giphy, the big platform for hosting GIFs that also runs a GIF keyboard, held talks to raise a huge new financing round — though it’s not clear if it ever crossed the finish line. Read More
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Snapchat removes Giphy feature due to racial slur GIF

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 Snapchat has temporarily removed its Giphy GIF sticker feature after a user saw an extremely racist GIF as an option. Snapchat confirms to TechCrunch “As soon as w were made aware, we removed the GIF and have disabled Giphy until we can be sure that this won’t happen again. The spokesperson says that all GIFs in Snapchat are meant to be “rated PG”, meaning… Read More
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Snapchat integrates GIF stickers from Giphy

Snapchat has announced that it was partnering with Giphy to provide clippable GIFs to adorn the Snaps that users send to friends or post to public Stories. This happened not too long after Snapchat came under heavy criticism for its new confusing interface after a recent update. Interestingly, Instagram was first one to offer insertable GIFs into Instragram Direct messages and Instagram Stories. What makes it even more interesting is that Giphy will provide these GIFs for Snaps, which is exactly the same provider for Instagram’s Stories’ GIFs. This move just screams “me too”. Snapchat…

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