If you opened up Instagram this weekend to post something to your story and despite all your tapping couldn’t get the GIF stickers to work, you weren’t alone. Instagram suspended the feature after users uncovered a racist GIF in the library of GIFs available to users. (Instagram uses the GIF library Giphy to provide GIFs to users.) The GIF was first uncovered on Snapchat, which also recently added a Giphy integration. Both platforms have since temporarily pulled GIF stickers and are conducting a formal review.
The GIF in question appeared when users searched for “crime” in the GIF database. It read “N- - - - - Crime Death Counter — Keep Cranking Bonzo, the Numbers Just Keep on Climbing!” and showed a white man holding a microphone directing a gorilla turning a crank.
After suspending the GIF feature, statements from both Instagram and Snapchat said the companies were waiting for Giphy to conduct a review and figure out where things went wrong. The company told Tech Crunch the racist GIF was the result of a bug. “After investigation of the incident, this sticker was available due to a bug in our content moderation filters specifically affecting GIF stickers,” a spokesperson said. “We have fixed the bug and have re-moderated all of the GIF stickers in our library.” The company also apologized and said it is hand-checking its entire GIF library. Once that’s done you’ll be able to go back to adding GIFs to your stories.