We’ve all seen the gun emoji and we’ve probably used it once or twice. While the digital cartoon depiction of a gun is physically harmless, a group out of New York seems to think it can harm people in other ways, and is actually trying to get rid of it all together.
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, or succinctly known as NYAGV, is on a mission easily guessed by reading the group’s name. Attempting to lower rates of gun violence, the group plans to “fire shots” at Apple in its newest campaign.
The campaign is known as #DisarmTheiPhone, and is taking a relatively large presence on social media. The group hopes social media followers will help convince Apple to completely remove the gun emoji. The idea is, getting rid of the gun emoji will symbolize taking a “stand for stricter gun accessibility in America.”
Interestingly, the campaign is targeted directly towards iPhones, while other emoji capable devices aren’t mentioned. Even more interesting, the group makes it seem that Apple is to blame when the Unicode character set, we know call emoji, has been around for over a decade and has always featured a gun. Photo: Emojipedia
Microsoft has avoided the gun “controversy” altogether by using a now ingenious design choice. Rather than using the emoticon of a real gun like Apple, Google, and Twitter, Microsoft clearly uses the emoticon symbol of a toy gun. An interesting design choice that might have paid off in the long run.
I completely agree that gun violence is a problem and no one deserves to be hurt with a lethal weapon. However, do you think this campaign will actually help the issue? Can removing an emoji prevent gun violence?
Fastcompany, progressive business media brand, provides an interesting quote on the matter.
On one hand, you could see the request as an imposition on our freedom of speech. Emoji is, in essence, a language. And if a company like Apple removes words from that language, even if they’re technically pictures, isn’t it censorship? How far does this linguistic adjustment go? If we type the letters G-U-N should they be autocorrected to S-U-N, P-U-N, or F-U-N?”
Even if Apple isn’t to blame for the gun emoji, even if removing the gun emoji will have zero impact on the issue of gun violence, Apple might be inclined to do it. Apple is a highly environmentally friendly company as well as a socially friendly company.
Historically, Apple has made many socially concious changes (at least since Tim Cook has taken over). Previously Apple banned images of guns from their App Store and released new emojis for Apple devices with diverse skin colors and depicitons of same-sex families.
Apple is, at least recently, a highly progressive company and could remove the gun emoji in effort to maintain a socially responsible identity. However, removing the gun emoji is simply another form of censorship that is creating a portion of the population increasingly worried about big brother.
Every campaign has its merits, however I can’t say for sure I’m on either side of the fence. It seems like an interesting idea, and who knows, it might actually cut down on violent crime. We won’t know unless we try.