Emojis seem to be the next big thing on smartphones across the world, so Unicode, the organization that designs and brings them on our devices, is already working on the next generation expected this year.
And since we’re getting closer to the Rio Olympic games, Unicode was planning a special sports-themed emoji set that included a rifle emoticon – because rifle shooting is actually an Olympic sport, that’s why.
But several companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and even Google are believed to have opposed to this proposal, explaining that they don’t want a rifle emoji on their devices.
writes that Apple was the first to veto the rifle emoticon during a meeting with tech companies, and both Microsoft and Google supported their Cupertino-based rival. The reason is as simple as it could be: such an emoji could encourage gun violence and with so many shootings taking place recently, tech companies are just looking for ways to avoid criticism and controversy created by the addition of this emoticon.
Neither Apple nor Microsoft commented on the report, but Unicode President Mark Davis confirmed that the rifle emoji won’t make it to devices.
“The committee decided not to mark them as Emoji, but to add them as characters (that is, normal black & white symbols),” he explained. This means that the rifle emoji will be added to the Unicode Character Database, but no device sold on the market will come with it.
All tech companies wanted to block the rifle emoji
At this point, there are 12 voting members in the board that decides which emoticons can be released, including Oracle, Facebook, Google, Apple, Oracle, IBM, and Yahoo. The decision to block the rifle emoji was unanimously voted and tech companies were among those who pursued the ban.
“I think what we’re seeing here with the rifle, is these big vendors and tech companies truly realizing what a big deal these emojis are,” a Unicode member was quoted as saying.
Indeed, emojis are gaining ground these days and they become an essential part of instant messaging, with tech companies like Apple and Microsoft working hard to improve their offering in this regard. Windows 10, for example, already comes with the latest set of emoji, which also includes a facepalm, while Apple has decided to make them bigger in the next version of iMessage and introduce several tweaks, as it discovered that the majority of users send them in their conversations.