Unicode, the company responsible for the popular Emoji Keyboards has recently pulled a rifle emoji from its latest update. Emojipedia reports that it not only pulled the rifle emoji, it also pulled an emoji featuring a man firing a rifle that was created to represent a “modern pentathlon”. CBC reports that the changes came about after the Unicode Consortium which is an event held that “regulates and standardizes the emoji keyboard.”
It would be easy to link these changes to the recent mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, however the consortium took place weeks before the Orlando shootings. This move has been noticed by gun rights activists who believe that it is a form of censorship.
This move has brought to light the power tech companies have on how we communicate. Buzzfeed’s Charlie Warzel reported that it was Apple, who was present at the consortium who started the conversation. According to one of Warzel’s sources, “Apple told the consortium it would not support a rifle on its platforms and asked for it not to be made into an emoji.”As CBC reports, this says a lot about “the potential influence of tech giants like Apple on politics and policy.”
The new emoji update is now set to feature 72 new emojis.
Kudos to Apple for pushing to exclude the “rifle” emoji. Next step: make the “pistol” a pink watergun. MS gets it! pic.twitter.com/B1JNDQYeQK
— Neven Mrgan (@mrgan) June 20, 2016
Now that a rifle emoji has been stopped, will they address the other emojis that can kill? 🗡🔫💣🔪🚬⚰💉💊🕳💰🏹🍸🎂🌪⚡️🐡🦂
— Heather Kelly (@heatherkelly) June 17, 2016
Image Courtesy of Emojipedia