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Bob Marley filter catches a buzz on Snapchat for 4/20

The message app adds a filter that superimposes the reggae legend's likeness over your own face, including his skin tone. Some are calling it digital blackface.

Here is the Bob Marley filter in action.

Dave Priest/CNET

In a potential case of "maybe we should've thought twice about this," Snapchat added a filter in celebration of the marijuana-centric pseudo-holiday 4/20 that adds the late reggae singer Bob Marley's face to your own.

Along with Marley's locks and a knitted cap, the app darkens your skin, a feature that many are criticizing on social media as akin to digital blackface.

"Bob Marley" is now trending on Twitter.

Snapchat defended its filter. "The lens we launched today was created in partnership with the Bob Marley Estate, and gives people a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music. Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley's music, and we respect his life and achievements," Snapchat said Wednesday in an emailed statement.

Snapchat isn't the only app that changes the color of your skin to imitate a celebrity of color. MSQRD does the same thing without as much fanfare. But Snapchat's popularity and its 4/20 timing have made the outcry against an app changing your skin tone a bit louder.

Update, 10 a.m. PT: Snapchat's response has been added.

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