Let us talk about one of the mundane things in life, emojis.
Face palm, at work, birthday, tumble weeds, etc. – we have seen all sorts of emojis in our messengers but couldn’t find anything resembling guns and rifles. Why?
This June 21, Unicode update 9.0 is coming out but a rifle emoji will not be included. It was previously listed as a new emoji candidate alongside disturbing clown, drums, selfie and shrug emojis but was strike down at a Unicode Consortium meeting last May. Apple and Microsoft were said to be among its critique, strongly arguing against its inclusion. It has been reported that Apple was the first company which suggested about its removal, saying that it will not include the emoji in its operating systems.
Aside from the rifle emoji being not included, the Unicode 9.0 update also removed the modern pentathlon which depicts a man firing a pistol. The decision could probably be attributed to the rise in gun-related violence. Apple and Microsoft, meanwhile, have not given a comment yet on the matter.
The Unicode Consortium
For the unfamiliar, the Consortium is non-profit corporation established to develop, maintain and promote software internationalization standard and data. Particularly, it is devoted in governing popular emoji standards. Apple and Microsoft are members of the body governing, which also include Google, Facebook and Yahoo.
The Consortium determines what new images are added or removed. Approved characters are eventually supported across various OS and services.
The removal of the rifle emoji, which was originally a part of the collection for Olympic-themed images (since shooting sports is part of the Olympic game), demonstrate that major tech companies are realizing that emojis are a big deal, especially these days when guns and gun control have become an increasing fraught topic in light of the recent mass shooting incident in the U.S.