Snapchat apologized on Friday for a Juneteenth filter that allowed users to break digital chains by smiling.
Juneteenth represents the day that black slaves in Texas learned that they were free. Snapchat regularly adds special Lens filters to coincide with holidays, but the Juneteenth edition quickly came under fire.
Author and digital strategist Mark S. Luckie posted a video of himself testing the filter that brought attention to many critics.
Luckie’s tweet went viral and Snapchat apologized, noting it would investigate why this mistake occurred.
“We deeply apologize to the members of the Snapchat community who found this Lens offensive,” a Snap spokesperson told Fox News.
“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 through our review process. We are investigating why this mistake occurred so that we can avoid it in the future,” the spokesperson added.
For decades June 19, 1865, has marked the beginning of freedom for blacks in America, but amid national outpouring for racial equality, this year’s celebration has a deeper meaning.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, Alveda King says this year’s Juneteenth has a different momentum than ever before. She is one of many who have called for it to become a national holiday.
“This year we are in a race war in America, and when you’re in war, you don’t really celebrate, you activate. Yes, segregation is over. Yes, Jim Crow is over. Yes, slavery is over. This year it’s time for us to learn to live together as brothers and sisters,” King said. “I have written a letter asking for a national Juneteenth holiday – I would love to see President Trump do an executive order and call for a national holiday on Juneteenth.”
As the Black Lives Matter movement grows, companies like Nike, Target, and Google have made Juneteenth a paid holiday.
Fox News’ Jayla Whitfield contributed to this report.