Cat Filter Distracts Viewers From Serious Police Live Stream on Double Homicide Investigation

July 23, 2019 Updated: July 23, 2019

Many who watched a live-streamed police update could be forgiven if they were distracted by a feline filter that was accidentally activated on July 19.

British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (BC RCMP) Sargent Janelle Shoihet suddenly developed a cat nose, whiskers, and ears while she was speaking at a press conference.

Shoihet was providing an important update on the continuing double homicide investigation of U.S. citizen Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, and Australian partner Lucas Fowler, 23, who were found dead along Highway 97 back on July 15.

However, some viewers found it challenging to focus on her words, and could not help noticing something was not right with the video and wondered what was going on.

“The BC RCMP are giving a press conference on the two people murdered on the Alaska Highway, and they have the cat ear filter on,” National Post Alberta Correspondent Tyler Dawson said on Twitter.

Global News Ottawa Bureau Chief‏ Mercedes Stephenson also noticed someone may have forgotten to turn off the cat filter since their last vacation.

“Another I am on vacation but moment,” Stephenson said on Twitter. “#HeyRCMP @BCRCMP you guys might want to look at this.”

BC RCMP responded on social media that it was already aware of the technical problem, and confirmed the cat filter was set up to automatically turn on.

“We are aware and addressing it as it’s an automatic setting,” BC RCMP said on Twitter. “Thank you, we will rectify and issue a video shortly.”

Facebook’s video application has a feature that allows users to overlay a video recording with filters that modify the appearance of the subject, such as the cat filter. However, viewers questioned why a device used to live-stream press conferences needs to have the cat filter turn on automatically.

“BC RCMP, why do you need the cat filter as an automatic setting?” Douglas Theedom said on Twitter.

BC RCMP later uploaded an edited version of the press conference video without the whiskers and cat ears.

A similar live streaming error on June 17 caused one of Pakistan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shoukat Yousf Zai’s staff members to appear on the video with cat ears and whiskers.

“A ‘cat filter’ was witnessed by the viewers, which was removed within [a] few minutes,” a statement from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party said according to the Associated Press (AP).

PTI confirmed a disciplinary committee had investigated the incident and found it was purely “human error” by a “hard-working” volunteer.

“All necessary actions have been taken to avoid such incidents in future with a great emphasis on strict enforcement of standard operating procedures and protocol for live coverage by the ground teams,” the statement said.

Yousafzai did not take the incident very seriously.

“I wasn’t the only one, two officials sitting along me were also hit by the cat filter,” he joked according to AP.