Apple, other Unicode consortium members vote down rifle emoji for time being

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Date: Monday, June 20th, 2016, 07:09
Category: News, Software


Don’t expect to see a rifle emoji anytime soon.

Unicode, the technical organization in charge of selecting and overseeing emojis, debated and ultimately decided to remove a rifle from its list of new emoji candidates in 2016, according to multiple persons who attended its quarterly meeting last May. The decision was led and championed by Apple.

Apple is one of Unicode’s largest member companies and not only has voting rights, but also holds considerable influence. Millions of people use emojis on Apple’s software platforms (earlier this year, the company announced it delivers as many as 200,000 messages per second across iMessage).

Sources indicated that Apple started the discussion to remove the rifle emoji, which had already passed into the encoding process for the Unicode 9.0 release this June. Apple told the consortium it would not support a rifle on its platforms and asked for it not to be made into an emoji.

This is a somewhat unusual decision, as most accepted candidates get approval to become full-fledged emojis. However, the member said the debate wasn’t all that contentious, perhaps because a handgun emoji was encoded into the original emoji release.

Although it was a unanimous decision, Unicode members are reluctant to discuss it and Apple declined to comment on the issue along with a dozen Unicode members.

A proposed glyph for the “modern pentathlon” emoji, which depicted a man firing a pistol. Unicode
The rifle appeared to be part of a set of Olympics-themed emojis (rifle shooting is an Olympic sport), intended to coincide with this year’s games in Rio, alongside emojis like “gymnastics,” “handball,” “water polo,” “person doing cartwheel,” and a series of gold, silver, and bronze medals. An archived page of 2016 emoji candidates on Unicode’s website included the rifle as recently as April 11 of this year and showed three different versions of the gun, including one with a scope and multiple colors. The archived Unicode page describes the different possible use cases for the rifle as “marksmanship,” “sport shooting,” and “hunting.”

So, no rifle emoji for the time being, especially in the wake of recent events.

As always, stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via BuzzFeed

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