I had ideas for umpteen blogs. Here is where they all somehow converge and I attempt to do something productive with my sprawling web presence.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Emojis can get you arrested, just the same as harassing and threatening words
In the not so distant past, many considered what emojis had become on a global basis. The Language Monitor noted late last year that the ideograph (graphic symbol representing ideas or concepts) for “love” was considered the top word of 2014 with some variation of the heart showing up worldwide across cultures, cutting through the boundaries of language and appearing billions of times each day. It was the first time an emoji had received such honors, and for good reason, too, since the symbol of the heart seems to universally encapsulate a very human emotion that everyone, at some point, feels.
And that’s just the thing. Emojis effectively and universally encapsulate many emotions, running the gamut from love to sadness and happiness to rage. In some cases, as The New Zealand Herald reports Feb. 15, emojis can even land you a trip to jail.
Here's an example: One 17 year old named Osirus Aristy was arrested for making terrorist threats on his social media when he put up multiple posts, using emojis, which targeted cops. Wired reported that the complaint against the teen pointed to the youth’s post as outright threats which made the police feel “intimidated and harassed—emoji and all. o_O”
Now, the issue is being brought to court and Aristy is not alone in being charged with harassing, hateful or terrorist speech. The Marshal Project writes that emails, sexts, and tweets have been, for some time, entering the scrutiny of courtrooms. Now emojis are becoming courtroom subjects, as well. “Over the last year and a half, these little online signifiers have figured, peripherally, in at least nine cases, including six in the last two months.”
Emojis have become an integral part in the way we communicate everyday. Now, with their increasing usage also comes the weight in meaning which cannot be differentiated from the bounds of everyday speech. Emojis are becoming just as important as spoken or written words.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com