Snapchat tacitly admitted that its employees copied popular designs from online makeup artists to use in its photo filters. The admission came after a story in The Ringer detailed the close resemblance between Snapchat filters and the artwork of designers on Instagram, YouTube, and other social platforms. Snapchat's practice has drawn the ire of artists because the company does not appear to credit anyone for borrowing their work. Snapchat also makes no effort to reach out to artists to do so, even when it works closely with brands like Taco Bell to create specific filters.
The company, in a statement given to The Ringer, said, "The creative process sometimes involves inspiration, but it should never result in copying. We have already implemented additional layers of review for all designs. Copying other artists isn’t something we will tolerate, and we’re taking appropriate action internally with those involved." While this isn't an outright admission of guilt, Snapchat's carefully crafted language makes it clear that it discovered the behavior and may have in fact taken disciplinary action over the practice.
"The creative process sometimes involves inspiration, but it should never result in copying."
This isn't the first time Snapchat has gotten into trouble over copying other artists' work. The company was accused of ripping off Russian artist Alexander Khokhlov to create a multi-colored geometric mask users who could don using a filter. In that instance, Snapchat acknowledged the resemblance to Khokhlov's work. "We agree that this lens is similar to other artists’ creations and we have removed it. We are sorry for this embarrassing mistake and we are taking action to make sure it won’t happen again," the company said in a statement at the time. It appears the copying hasn't stopped, and Snapchat management will now have to be far more diligent in overseeing the work of its filters division.