Unicode Consortium, the group behind the infrastructure that makes emojis possible, has decided not to issue a rifle emoji as planned. According to sources who attended the quarterly meeting this last May, although it was unanimously voted down, the decision was largely pushed by Apple.
Others Speak Up Against The Rifle Emoji
Microsoft and Apple, voting members of the consortium, reportedly both expressed concern with the idea of a rifle emoji for Unicode’s next update. The rifle was first proposed to be used as a part of a marketing series to promote Olympic themed emojis for this year’s Rio games. The rifles were to represent the different Olympic sports: sports shooting, hunting, and marksmanship. A British gun control group was the first to express concern about the idea of a rifle emoji, noting that popularizing the image of a rifle is “not a good idea.”
The Ramifications Of Being Positioned As A Digital Universal Language
Millions of people use emojis on the Apple operating system, as many as 200,000 messages per second are sent via its native message system, iMessage. However, the conversations surrounding the influence of emojis has catapulted Unicode as an influencer in popular culture. Emojis are becoming a global form of communication and expression.
However, that also positions companies who allow emojis to be used on their platforms to be criticized and possibly influenced by religious and political opinions. Even though emojis are cartoons, people also use them to address serious issues. Last year, Microsoft included a middle finger emoji, with many people calling the image questionable. Unicode included diverse skin tones to its human emojis, and even that faced some criticism.
Unicode Delegating Power To Apple And Other Companies
There has even been a recent plan that will require most of Unicode’s vendors like Apple and Microsoft to unilaterally support the deployment of an emoji in order for it to be approved. This will give more power to Apple and other vendors including Oracle, Yahoo, and Facebook. Outside of this gun control issue, Unicode and its emojis have been assigned the task of building the first Digital Universal language, without it even knowing it.
Featured image by iPhone screengrab