Facebook and Microsoft are reportedly set to change one of the many emojis they offer for their respective platforms: the gun.
Emojis or emoticons, the digital symbols used to express emotions, objects, and ideas, have become highly popular as smartphone ownership has increased over the years. As they grow in popularity, big tech companies update their arsenal of emojis, some for aesthetics, and others for apparently political or moral reasons.
Apple appeared to start the trend of changing the firearm icon for its 2016 package of emojis, a stark alteration that caused a realistic pistol to become more evocative of a water gun. Now, Microsoft says they are likely to redesign its own “to reflect our values and the feedback we’ve received.”
We are in the process of evolving our emojis to reflect our values and the feedback we’ve received. Here’s a preview: pic.twitter.com/BlB3yYTSht
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) April 25, 2018
Facebook said it also plans on creating a new image for the firearm emoji, Business Insider reported Wednesday, so that they can be more similar to others in the larger virtual communications industry like Apple, Samsung, and Google.
Tech companies are adjusting to what they see as a community want. If ardent supporters of guns and gun rights notice or care about the changes remains to be seen.
Perhaps more importantly, the like-mindedness from the various tech companies may end the confusion that often happens when people send emojis on devices using different operating systems. Just one example is when someone uses an iPhone and they want to send a “grimacing face,” the image appears angry for someone using the now-outdated, but still available Android 5.0 operating system.