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Emojis: Give people what they want

Washington - Across mobile, and especially in iOS, people use emojis to express deep and complicated emotions. But the lack of diversity in the human-related emojis makes it hard to represent life accurately through these pictograms.

For the most part they depict white people, disembodied white hands, or the traditional Simpsons yellow, which is meant to be more neutral.

For the most part they depict white people, disembodied white hands, or the traditional Simpsons yellow, which is meant to be more neutral.

The abstract colours are all right, but don’t really cut it when there’s such a critical mass of emojis depicting white people.

In a statement to MTV Act, an Apple spokesperson said the company agreed and wanted to change things.

“Tim (Cook, Apple chief executive) forwarded your e-mail to me. We agree with you.

“Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms.

“There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

Without a hard time frame, it’s hard to tell how serious Apple is or how much power the company can wield over the Unicode Consortium, which develops international software standards.

An FAQ about emoji on the consortium website explains: “The Unicode Consortium does not design emoji … We do not make or sell fonts, images, or icons … Adding characters to an encoding standard involves a long, formal process.”

The site includes detailed instructions for submitting “character encoding proposals”.

But the campaign for more diverse emojis has been raging for almost two years, and includes proponents like Miley Cyrus.

It’s time to push one of these proposals through and to give the people what they want. And if you don’t give a damn about emojis, you could at least support the issue on principle. – Slate / The Washington Post News Service

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