Snapchat, the popular social media application that allows users to share short videos, is in hot water over its new batch of filters. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP Photo
Snapchat, the popular social media application that allows users to share short videos, is in hot water over its new batch of filters. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP Photo

When a silly filter goes too far



Snapchat, the popular social media application that allows users to share short videos, is in hot water over its new batch of filters. The application uses advanced facial graphing technology that gives users the ability to make their face look like a dragon or a puppy. This is a wildly popular part of the platform but one that has got Snapchat in trouble.

This month, Snapchat debuted a feature that it said was inspired by Japanese anime but seemed to recycle racist stereotypes of Asian people from the 1940s, with narrow eyes and exaggerated teeth. The feature was quickly discontinued after a flood of criticism from users and the tech press. In the past, Snapchat has been accused of promoting whitened skin tones over dark ones in its application. But the latest feature went too far.

This type of latent racism is not occurring in a vacuum. Throughout this year, prejudice has been an unavoidable current in political discourse from the US presidential election to the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote. The statements of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump about Mexicans, Muslims, women and the disabled have single-handedly moved the boundaries of acceptable discourse in American political life.

The storyline is remarkably similar with each instance: Mr Trump makes an over-the-top or racist comment only to walk it back days later. The social residue, however, is much more corrosive and doesn’t easily wash out of our collective consciousness.

With this in mind, Snapchat’s latest “Asian” filter is more serious than simply a joke gone bad. Given that Snapchat is popular among young adults, the subconscious effects of subtle racism and stereotyping could translate into overt racist feelings later in life. Coupled with the toxic rhetoric coming from politicians across the West, younger generations are facing a wave of prejudice in the public sphere – for some, they may not even be aware that it could be any different. The pushback against Snapchat’s mistake is commendable – but any company that aspires to being a global corporation needs to be much more careful.

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

HOSTS

T20 WORLD CUP 

2024: US and West Indies; 2026: India and Sri Lanka; 2028: Australia and New Zealand; 2030: England, Ireland and Scotland 

ODI WORLD CUP 

2027: South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia; 2031: India and
Bangladesh 

CHAMPIONS TROPHY 

2025: Pakistan; 2029: India  

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.
Last-16

France 4
Griezmann (13' pen), Pavard (57'), Mbappe (64', 68')

Argentina 3
Di Maria (41'), Mercado (48'), Aguero (90+3')