The ad, which was for the “Would You Rather?” game, had a message that asked Snapchat users to choose between punching Brown or slapping Rihanna.
A spokesperson for Snapchat said in an apology issued to BBC News that the ad violates the app’s guidelines and ran “in error.”
The Snapchat spokesperson said, “The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines. We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware. We are sorry that this happened.”
The ad was only seen by users in the United States but it quickly made the rounds on Twitter.
The ad was quickly criticized as “tone deaf” due to Brown’s conviction for assaulting Rihanna in his car in 2009 while the pair were in a relationship.
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Rihanna took to Instagram to address the ad publicly.
Many people took to social media to criticize the social media platform for allowing the ad to appear on the app.
U.S. activist Brittany Packnett wrote, “I know that social media ads go through an approval process from the platform. This means Snapchat approved an ad that makes light of domestic violence. This update ain’t the only thing that’s wack over there, friends.”
Chelsea Clinton replied: “Just awful. Awful that anyone thinks this is funny. Awful that anyone thinks this is appropriate. Awful that any company would approve this. Thank you Brittany for calling this out.”
After pleading guilty to felony assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, Brown’s career and personal life took a hit after the viciousness of the assault was made public. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and six months of community service for the crime, but according to Brown, further unseen punishment was going on behind the scenes.
Brown addresses the violent incident in his documentary Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life (which took place in a car and produced photographic evidence for the world to see), saying he was “thinking about suicide” and spiralling into heavy drug use.