Snapchat and Instagram temporarily suspended stickers by GIF search engine Giphy after outcry by users over a racist GIF that came up as an option to add to their images.
In a statement to TechCrunch, both companies confirmed that integration with Giphy would be halted while it investigated how the offensive GIF sneaked through their filters.
"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," said the Snapchat spokesperson, who added that GIFs on Snapchat were meant to be rated PG.
Instagram spokesperson also said such content had no place on Instagram, and that integration with Giphy was suspended though it may take some time to propagate to all users.
The GIF depicted a person saying "(racial slur) Crime Death Counter - Keep Cranking Bonzo, the Numbers Just Keep on Climbing!" while a chimpanzee turned a crank attached to a counter.
The Giphy community guidelines prohibited such objectionable content, but as it worked like a search engine that indexed the top GIFs on the internet, unsavoury content occasionally slipped through.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Giphy admitted it was to blame for a bug allowing the offensive GIF through.
"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," said a spokesperson.
"We take full responsibility for these recent events and sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended," they added.
Snapchat launched Giphy integration on Feb 20 to allow users to add moving images, curated as safe by the Giphy team, to their photos and videos. Instagram launched similar integration a week later.