Emoji Glitch Discourse


Maddy Moe and Holly Bradshaw

An anti-gay flag emoji has been circulating on Twitter and Instagram for a few days now. Understandably, it has garnered a fair bit of outrage from members of the LGBT community, as well as its allies.

The emoji in question immediately went viral on a Twitter post. The initial reaction on social media was due to the public believing it was a new or official emoji. It is, in fact, a glitch and not an official Apple emoji; however, that does not diminish the fact that it is offensive to copy and paste what would be deemed a hate symbol over the internet.

At first, it was not apparent this was the case, but it is actually a unicode glitch, as several experts online have already explained. Essentially copy and pasting a cancellation symbol over any emoji, like the pride flag, will create the seemingly anti symbol.

Love Lundy, a junior, comments, “I’ve been told that it’s a glitch. Regardless, I see why the LGBT community is in an outrage over this. It’s hard to not take everything offensively these days when your community has been marginalized in every way for decades. What frustrates me further is that nobody is talking about the cross through the black man, the flag with the Star of David, or the Kaaba. Where is the outrage over that, glitch or not?”

Another junior, Graham Jones, who has a bit of a different take, responds, “A majority of sources I’ve seen are saying it’s just a glitch, If I’m being entirely honest I don’t think it’s that bad, I do believe it’s a bit distasteful. But does it merit all the outcry it’s getting? No, probably not.”

The emoji sparked quite a concerning outcry for a simple glitch in unicode software, but it is not the fault of any company. It seems to be most of the usage of it is more-so from internet memes and gags than actual hate, although it is arguable if joking about such things is offensive or not. It also serves as yet another example of how quickly information can spread through platforms on social media. It doesn’t seem such a glitch is fixable, but hopefully the use of hateful symbols will die down in time.

This also goes to prove how quickly rumors, like that of how Apple allegedly created the emoji when they did not, can spread. Not only that, but how people can get away with passing something like this off as a mere joke, trying to totally discredit any negative intent that may have come with this emoji.