According to TechCrunch, the GIF in question read “N***** CRIME DEATH COUNTER,” accompanied by a small graphic of a primate and a game show host shouting “Keep Cranking Bonzo, the Numbers Just Keep on Climbing!” As a result of the animation’s spread on Giphy, both Instagram and Snapchat have chosen to disable integration with the service—just weeks after adding it. Instagram added Giphy support in late January, while Snapchat did so just weeks later on February 20th.
The GIF in question allegedly showed up while searching for the word “crime,” per Twitter user Lyauna Augmon:
The GIF in question didn’t show up when Gizmodo searched for it on Giphy’s desktop site.
“This type of content has no place on Instagram,” an Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We have stopped our integration with Giphy as they investigate the issue.”
Snapchat told TechCrunch all content made available through the app integration is supposed to be “rated PG” and that “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.”
Hate speech is against Giphy’s rules, though apparently it is possible for some prohibited content to slip through. Presumably the functionality could return if Giphy is able to show the incident was a fluke that won’t be repeated.
Giphy has turned into a big business over the years, with a February profile in the New York Times noting that its studio division is trying to break into branded content and wants to make turning up in its offices a rite of passage for celebrities who want to be “GIF-amous.” In practice, this usually involves tired pizza memes. (The same profile noted the company has raised $150 million but remains “pre-revenue.”)
Update 3/12/2018 2:30pm ET: A spokesperson for Giphy has sent the following statement to Gizmodo that explains the incident was “due to a bug” in their content moderation filters for stickers:
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.