Update: March 29, 2018: After removing GIFs from Instagram Stories earlier this month, Instagram is returning them to users' sticker folders today. The integration with Giphy was originally suspended after a sticker depicting a racial slur was discovered.
“We’ve been in close contact with Giphy throughout this process and we're confident that they have put measures in place to ensure that Instagram users have a good experience," an Instagram spokesperson said.
Giphy also released a statement today, apologizing for the "deeply offensive sticker" and attributing it to a bug in the system's content moderation filters. To prevent future bugs, the company says that it has increased the level of moderation for all stickers on the platform.
Snapchat, which also removed GIF stickers, has not revealed when they will be returning.
For now, you'll have to send all your crying Drakes on Instagram.
This article was originally published on March 12, 2018.
In January, Instagram introduced one of its smartest, millennial-minded collaborations to date: the integration of GIF stickers from Giphy within Instagram Stories. But if you couldn't find the GIF icon in its usual place in the Stories sticker folder this weekend, you weren't alone. The feature was removed from both Instagram and Snapchat after users discovered a GIF with a racial slur.
The GIF in question was a clear violation of Giphy's user guidelines, which prohibit hate speech, as well as GIFs with pornography and explicit nudity, violence, self-harm, animal cruelty, illegal activity, private information, and bullying, stalking, harassment, or threats.
While Giphy allows users to upload their own GIFs and GIF stickers to the massive library of over 2 billion quick, animated clips, the site has content moderation filters in place to detect any uploads that violate its user guidelines. According to a Giphy spokesperson, this was where things went wrong over the weekend:
"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."
Neither Instagram nor Snapchat has said if or when Gif stickers will be returning. However, while you can't place a crying Drake sticker in your coffee cup on Stories, there is still a way to add a GIF to your Stories. Download the Giphy app and find the Gif you want to include. Click on it and tap the upload icon to save the Gif to your camera roll. Then, within Instagram Stories swipe up to access your saved photos or, in Snapchat, tap the Memories icon at the bottom of the main camera screen, and select your saved GIF. Granted, this is a more tedious process and you will only be able to add a full-screen GIF.
While it might be frustrating not to have access to a GIF library within Instagram Stories and Snapchat, it's good to see both apps taking the violation seriously. Their quick response is something other social platforms dealing with abusive content could learn from.