Instagram filter that covers users in virtual Nazi tattoos doesn’t violate terms of service

Instagram, a photo and video sharing social networking service acquired by Facebook, has as one of its features an effect that covers the user’s image with virtual tattoos which include snakes, a Native American headdress, the words “pray for me” and what appears to be a swastika.

The Nazi symbol was first brought to public attention by Sabrina Zohar, 31, a California clothing designer with more than 17,000 followers on Instagram. 

 “Hitler and then nazis is not a joke or passive topic so let’s stop pretending it’s okay,” she posted.

“I understand what the symbol stands for and the multiple meanings,” Zohar, who founded the loungewear brand Softwear, told The New York Post via email. “But as someone that is Jewish, it’s hard to be reminded of the symbol that is so in your face.”

The filters are created by users but are reviewed before being posted to Instagram. The filter effect with the swastika was created by Anastasia Truita Tkachenko who claimed the symbol was  Slavic in origin and “symbolizes good, the sun and life.” She noted that the arms in the Slavic symbol point counter-clockwise whereas the Nazi swastika faces clockwise.

Instagram reportedly has no plans to take the filter down and a Facebook spokesperson said that it “does not violate our policies,” but that the company sees how the image “can be used in cultural context that predates Nazism.”

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League slammed Facebook, the owner of Instagram, for allowing the feature to remain in place.

“This is yet another example of Facebook falling down on moderating even obvious anti-semitism on their platforms and is further evidence of their need to invest more heavily in content moderation as they expand to new forms of content,” Greenblatt said. “This symbol should have been caught in any review that Facebook undertook when approving various user created Instagram reel effects if they were centering the impact these filters could have on vulnerable and marginalized groups.”



Israel in the News