Comment in a leading German newspaper regarding the way UTC and Apple handle Emoji as an attack on Free Speech

Christoph Päper christoph.paeper at
Fri Sep 2 06:01:46 CDT 2016

Doug Ewell <doug at>:
> [FAZ:]
>> ("The Unicode Consortium appears like a reissue of Orwell's Ministry
>> of Truth, which replaced the English language by a new one, sweeped
>> clean from harmful terms, and which removed "unorthodox" connotations
>> from the rest of the words.")
> I can imagine people with time on their hands criticizing Apple for
> changing the glyph, but how did the Unicode Consortium itself get
> dragged into this? What obvious thing am I missing?

>From the FAZ article:

>> Doch nach Darstellung des Portals „Buzzfeed“ intervenierten Apple und Microsoft bei dem für die Standardisierung von Emojis zuständigen Konsortium und verhinderten so die Aufnahme des Gewehrsymbols in den Unicode. Waffenkontrolle funktioniert heute also mit ein paar Code-Änderungen.

My translation:

>> According to the news portal “Buzzfeed”, Apple and Microsoft intervened at the consortium responsible for standardizing emojis and thereby prevented the addition of the Rifle symbol into  Unicode. Gun control hence works by changing a bit of code nowadays.

Newspapers, especially big and traditional ones, notoriously don’t hyperlink their sources. The author, Adrian Lobe, probably references the first of the following Buzzfeed articles by Charlie Warzel (I remembered the Ars Technica article which is similar in tone):

- <>
- <>
- <>

The finer details of inclusion in Unicode, `Emoji=Yes`, `Emoji_Presentation=Yes`, inclusion in emoji picker GUIs or default fonts don’t really matter to the general public. Two characters were added in TUS9 to a block otherwise only used for (non-compatibility) emojis without making them proper emojis. That’s fishy, even to the halfwits. UTC would have been better off not encoding �� U+1F946 Rifle and �� U+1F93B Modern Pentathlon at all. The current situation is a half-assed compromise that pleases nobody and it’s really no wonder it gets mixed up with the more recent controversy about the default glyph for �� U+1F52B Pistol in current beta versions of Apple’s OSs.

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