Instagram users attach “stickers” to label their story videos with humorous text, but even Instagram went too far on its own. It has removed the “MUTE WHITE PEOPLE” sticker after conservative journalists and Donald Trump Jr. torched the company on social media.
Conservative backlash appears to have pushed Instagram to remove the sticker which expressed explicit animosity toward white people. While the sticker appears to no longer be available on Instagram itself, it can still be accessed on the GIPHY website. GIPHY, like Instagram, is owned by Facebook, meaning that Facebook/Instagram are responsible for this image circulating.
The controversial feature went viral when Townhall editor and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich tweeted a screenshot of it from her phone on July 13 with the caption “Instagram has a ‘mute white people’ button in stories.” Don Jr. called out Instagram for allowing the sticker as well, retweeting Pavlich’s post and quipping: “Remember, it’s not racist if it’s racist against white people.”
Instagram users can post brief videos with added labels or “stickers,” much like competing social media platform Snapchat. These add visual flair or humorous captions to uploaded content. This particular sticker featured a mute button with the words “MUTE WHITE PEOPLE.”.
Conservative commentator Ashley StClair tweeted a screenshot of it, commenting “I’m going to need an explanation for this new racist Instagram sticker....” She followed her post by sharing a brief screen-recorded video of her accessing the sticker in the menu.
She also tweeted that “Instagram & Facebook have removed the ‘Mute White People’ sticker.” She followed by writing that “The real question is whether or not the FOUR companies that were complicit in publishing this racist gif will make a statement.”
On July 14, StClair announced that a conservative friend of hers had a post removed for using stickers Instagram itself had allowed in the first place. The notification in the screenshot wrote that the post in question had been “removed for hate speech or symbols.” “Is this an admission from @instagram that they published hate speech for all users to use? StClair asked in response.
The Washington Examiner reported that this anti-white sticker, “Called the ‘unbothered sticker,’” had been “uploaded to online database GIPHY by Refinery29, a media outlet aimed at a female audience, GIPHY’s website shows.”
Refinery29, The Examiner explained, has been responsible for a massive amount of far left content in that it “has uploaded more than 500 buttons and GIFs to GIPHY.” Other GIFs uploaded by Refinery29 include: “REPARATIONS$$$,” “DEFUND THE POLICE,” “CANCELED,” and “PAY BLACK WOMEN.”
Heritage Foundation social media manager Lyndsey Fifield explained that the source of this GIF is not Instagram itself, but that Instagram uses GIPHY as a resource for what GIFS are available on its platform:
“GIFS are generated by the @giphy gif bank from verified accounts.
“Yes, I think IG curates them but my Small Business sticker has been in the top 9
“This is WHY I've been TRYING to tell conservatives to get on giphy.
“There would be NO pro-life stickers if I didn't post them.”
As ScreenRant observed, accountability for allowing certain stickers is a murky territory for Big Tech platforms:
“While many continue to debate whether Instagram should have a button like this available on its platform, this is the result of a feature that allows others to create for the service and not the result of Instagram having launched an official ‘mute white people’ Story sticker. In fact, this is likely to be an issue that pops up again and something Facebook will have to deal with eventually, especially considering it purchased Giphy to make it even more tightly integrated with Instagram.”
As of July 14, the sticker is no longer available on Instagram, though it can still be found on GIPHY’s website.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at 1-650-308-7300 or 1-650-543-4800 or Instagram at email@example.com and demand that Big Tech be held to account to provide clarity on “hate speech,” rules that seem to be applied inconsistently. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.