Shocked Instagram users who noticed that an Instagram filter that makes a selfie-taker's body appear to be covered with tattoos included what appears to be a swastika tattoo were initially told that the filter did not violate the site’s policies.
The “old school” filter, part of Instagram’s Effect Gallery, makes a person appear to be covered in tattoos. These include tattoos of a snakes, a Native American headdress and the phrase “pray for me.”
Also included is a tattoo that gives all the appearance of being the Nazi swastika.
The swastika was first noticed by Sabrina Zohar, a 31-year old California clothing designer with more than 17,000 Instagram followers.
Upon trying out the filter, she became “speechless” after noticing that one of the tattoos it placed on her arm was the Nazi symbol.
“This s*** has to end, not just for Jews but for everyone. Hitler and then Nazis is not a joke or passive topic so let’s stop pretending it’s okay,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Zohar reported the filter for containing a hate symbol.
Any user can create and submit their own filter to the Effect Gallery. Every filter is reviewed to make sure it doesn’t violate Instagram guidelines, including for hate, before it is made available.
“I understand what the symbol stands for and the multiple meanings,” Zohar told the New York Post. “But as someone that is Jewish, it’s hard to be reminded of the symbol that is so in your face.”
A spokesperson for Instagram’s parent company Facebook told the Post that the filter “does not violate our policies.” They added that the swastika “can be used in cultural context that predates Nazism.”
They will not be removing the filter, they stated.
In a message, the creator of the filter, Anastasia Truita Tkachenko, told the Post that the symbol in question is not the Nazi swastika but a Slavic symbol that “symbolizes good, the sun and life.” She pointed to the fact that the symbol’s arms are bent counter-clockwise while those of the Nazi swastika are bent clockwise.
Zohar said that while the swastika symbol predates the Nazis by thousands of years, most people associate it with the Nazis.
“In a world where we are so sensitive to so many things, why is this just casually included on a filter?” she asked.
Another Jewish Instagram user, Elana, the 29-year old granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, asked her 55,700 Instagram followers to report the filter to the ADL.
"Instagram is part of younger generation's daily life and to see something like this they are basically normalizing it," Kaplan said.
In a follow-up Instagram post on Sunday night, Zohar shared a new picture of her using the filter where the swastika "tattoo" was no longer on her arm, implying Instagram had changed their mind and removed it.
"Y'all we did it!! They changed the symbol," she wrote in the post.