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Microsoft removes handgun emoji

With the disarming of the gun emoji and the replacement with a toy, Microsoft follows in the footsteps of Google in replacing the weapon with a toy. Google’s update is expected to appear in Android 9.0.

Both companies were behind Apple, which dropped its more serious ‘gun related’ emojis in 2016. However, Apple’s solution was to replace something that looked like a gun that could kill a person with a water pistol – something that didn’t go far enough in the eyes of some anti-gun campaigners (as Digital Journal reported at the time “Apple urged to redesign handgun emoji“).

WhatsApp has also released their own emoji font for Android which takes many cues from Apple, including a water pistol in place of a traditional looking gun. Additionally Samsung has switched out its gun for a new toy style gun through its 2018 software release that comes on the new Galaxy S9. Earlier Twitter dropped its gun Twemoji, moving to a to a similar looking green water squirt gun.

This left Microsoft as the only major player that a gun emoji. Microsoft has tweeted that it has begun “evolving” its designs to in order to best reflect its values. The company will probably follow the other players and substitute the graphic of a revolver with one of a water pistol.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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