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No, there’s not a new anti-LGBT emoji

No, there’s not a new anti-LGBT emoji
[Photo: Charles/Unsplash]

Many people on Twitter are going crazy because of a new allegedly anti-LGBT emoji. The problem is, it doesn’t actually exist.

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The hubbub began yesterday, when a Twitter user named “mitchell” posted a tweet of what looked like an LGBT rainbow flag with a crossed-out circle over it. Or at least that was what some people saw if they were using an iPhone. Here’s what it looked like:

At first glance, this does appear like an anti-LGBT symbol. Indeed, people online pounced. “So is Apple gonna explain their anti-lgbt emoji or are we really just living in some awful twisted timeline?” one person tweeted. “[W]hy is this emoji even a thing?! This just makes me so mad…..” asked another. It began to trend on Twitter.

The thing is: This new Apple emoji does not exist. It’s simply a glitch in the system. When using unicode characters, it’s possible to put a strike-through circle next to an emoji and have it look as if it’s overlaying it.

It doesn’t even work everywhere! For instance, I’m writing this on my laptop and none of the supposed anti-LGBT emojis even exist: They simply look like LGBT flags with strike-through circle beside them.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, either. This is something unicode has long been able to do. Many have considered it a silly hack–you can put a strike-through through anything! Here are three examples, from Emojipedia:

I want to emphasize that despite the fact that the above pictures exist, Apple has not made a new anti-chocolate bar, anti-baby, or anti-dancer emoji. Neither has it made an anti-rainbow flag one.

Many people online knew this, it should be said, and simply shared the struck-through flag as an inside joke. Twitter is a fun place where humor can quickly lose all context and morph into something bigger and weirder. Even “mitchell,” the self-proclaimed progenitor of this fervor (whose Twitter name now proudly and/or shamelessly exclaims this fact), has admitted that it’s not a new emoji from Apple. He told Out that he “discovered” the flaw a while ago. Yet Emojipedia wrote about it in . . . 2016. Either way, congratulations on going viral.

To recap: Despite the chaos, Apple has not introduced a new hate-filled emoji library. It’s simply an aesthetic side effect of a system people have honestly known about for years. All the same, I’ll probably have to write this article again in a few months when we hear about the new anti-poop emoji.

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