Snapchat Accused of Stealing Make-Up Artists’ Work for Selfie Filters

A photo posted by mykie (@mykie_) on

Snapchat’s selfie filters have turned into something of a phenomenon—whether you want to become a koala or puke a rainbow, they have you covered. But the popular ephemeral photo sharing and messaging app is in a spot of trouble over those filters this week.

Several prominent make-up artists are accusing the company of stealing their original work to come up with “cool” new selfie filters, and the similarities are so striking that Snapchat itself is admitting some wrongdoing. Photos posted to the artists’ Instagram accounts show just how similar these filters are, and soon after reporting the similarities to Snapchat the filters disappeared.

Above is an example posted by artist Mykie two months ago. Below, another example by ArgenaPeede, went up one week ago.

After several reports of the theft went up online, and particularly one in-depth report by The Ringer, the photo sharing application finally responded, seemingly admitting that something is going on but stopping short of an official apology.

Identical statements sent to The Ringer and by a Snapchat spokesperson reads:

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.

At first blush, this may not seem to affect photographers much at all. But if a major photo sharing app is stealing artists’ ideas, it’s only a matter of time before photographers are impacted as well. It’s not like big companies haven’t done it before. Hopefully these new layers keep that from happening.