Never has it been less appropriate to refer to emojis as “smileys.”
Any of us old enough to remember life before smartphones will recall the days when “;)” sufficed for a winking face. As it turns out, those colorless, shapeless expressions were a much more cost-effective option than the the emojis we know and love today.
Samsung owners of mobile phones as recent as 2013’s Galaxy S4 and Note 3 are apparently receiving exorbitant bills from their carriers, as a result of the emoticons in their texts being transformed into premium-priced picture messages. Other affected smartphone models include the Galaxy S, S2, and S3, in addition to the Note, Note 2, and Galaxy Ace.
While not everyone is going to have a horror story on this scale, one Samsung user racked up charges totaling $1,840 as a result of the error. The user is currently taking it up with the U.K.’s communication ombudsman.
Samsung is thought to be the only smartphone brand affected, although customers can guard against the glitch by opening the Messages app and selecting Settings > Text messages > Input mode, and then choosing “UniCode” instead of “automatic.”
It’s days like this the was invented for.