Its World Emoji today, the day we celebrate the cute little faces we use to express emotions and intent in text on our mobile devices and more.
Since we’ve already patted Microsoft on the back for keeping up with the trends with regards to the sheer number and variety of emoji, its time to tut at them for what appears to be a cynical move with regards to expressive emoji.
I’ve noted this down a while back when Microsoft launched new emoji for Windows 10 but refrained from commenting on this, but this seems a good time as ever to say this; Microsoft censors emoji on their platforms.
“Wait what? That’s ridiculous”, you exclaim, leaping to your keyboard to dub me a Microsoft hater and cast down all manner of profanity. I welcome it, in fact, I urge you to open the emoji keyboard of your Windows device and find the middle finger on it.
Despite Windows supporting this emoji since Windows 10 launched, you will find yourself unable to natively access the finger of righteous indignation without using a workaround.
Now one could say that perhaps Microsoft doesn’t find those emoji representative of its values and has bizarrely appointed itself as a moral arbiter, then how can one explain the absence of LGBT family emojis from the Windows 10 keyboard?
Emoji which display LGBT couples, alongside emoji of LGBT couples kissing or like similar are supported by the new Windows 10 anniversary update and display well enough on computers and other devices running them. Yet, they aren’t present on the emoji keyboard. for manual user selection. Oddly enough, Microsoft’s emoji keyboard does display LGBT couples holding hands but stops short of showing them with families, kissing or anything too risqué for the 1950’s.
The message Microsoft seems to be passing here is unfortunate. Ninjacat emoji? Knock yourselves out. LGBT emoji? Don’t get ahead of yourselves.
Sure you may argue that emojis are inconsequential – and some certainly will – but like it or not, they are a part of how we communicate in modern times, and what one company – especially one as influential as Microsoft -chooses to include in their emoji keyboard, says as much as what they exclude.