Emojis will get more diverse, Apple promises

Under fire for its monochromatic emojis, Apple says it will expand the range of its icons. 

Unicode announces more than 250 new emojis.

Apple emojis: tiny, illustrated icons that are useful for expressing joy. They are also useful for when your thumb gets too sore to type out a traditional text-based text.

But according to some users, emojis are not exactly representative of the real world. As Joey Parker of MTV Act recently put it, you can find a water buffalo in Apple's emoji dictionary, but not a whole lot of people of color (unless, of course, you count the man with the turban). 

Now Apple says it is working on a new – and more inclusive – set of emojis. "We agree with you," an Apple spokesman said in response to an MTV query. "Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

The last major emoji update came in 2012, when Apple introduced emojis featuring gay couples. 

The new change comes in the wake of a Fast Company post questioning whether emojis are "racist," and an online petition – asking Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook for "more diversity [on] the emoji keyboard" – signed by more than 4,000 people. 

In related news, The Wall Street Journal has tracked down a woman campaigning for the inclusion of a different kind of emoji: One representing a hot dog. Laura Ustick is the manager of the Superdawg Drive-In in Illinois. "People are demanding a hot-dog emoji," Ms. Ustick told a reporter for the Journal. "It's a slight against the hot-dog community."

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.