Tech by VICE

Accidentally Applied Cat Filter Disrupts Pakistani Political Livestream

A cat filter was accidentally applied to the faces of regional politicians in northwest Pakistan during a press conference.

by Madeleine Gregory
Jun 17 2019, 4:35pm

FAROOQ NAEEM/Getty Images 

A press conference in Pakistan faced some unprecedented technological difficulties last week when politicians unexpectedly turned into cats.

Regional minister Shaukat Yousafzai was leading a press conference on June 14 that was being streamed over Facebook. This wasn't unusual, but things took a turn when Yousafzai's social media team accidentally turned on a cat filter, giving Yousafzai and other officials cat ears and whiskers, Agence France-Presse reported.

The filter was left on for several minutes before it was taken off. The sudden appearance of a filter most often seen in adorable selfies, not government proceedings, immediately attracted the attention of viewers. Comments streamed in on the Facebook livestream, joking about the feline-faced politicians on screen.

Yousafzai seemed to share this sense of humor about the incident. “I wasn't the only one—two officials sitting along me were also hit by the cat filter,” Yousafzai joked to AFP.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, to which Yousafzai belongs, governs the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in Pakistan. The party took a slightly more serious tone in its response, issuing a clarification on Twitter and Facebook. The party noted that it prides itself on bringing Pakistani politics to the internet, and called the mistake a “human error.”

“Yesterday, whilst covering a press briefing help by KP's Information Minister Shoukat Yousafzai, a 'cat filter' was witnessed by the viewers which was removed within few minutes.”

The video has been deleted from PTI’s official Facebook page, but screengrabs are still circulating on social media.