The use of emojis has grown to be a cooler way of expressing ourselves on social media platforms and messaging apps.
With the use of these characters, it is easier to express one’s feelings that would otherwise have been harder to express in words.
The growth in the use of emojis has even led to Facebook recently rolling out a feature known as Reactions. Unlike before where users were only able to “Like” a comment or status, the new Facebook Reactions allows users to use emojis to show more feelings.
While this tool is increasingly becoming the common language of internet users, cops are apparently taking postings that use certain emojis to be legitimate threats. Legal cases have begun showing up with respect to the use of certain characters on social media apps, for instance, emojis of guns, knives, and other weapon-like characters.
Police have been charging people for using this emojis in different forms of communication, with kids the most affected. According to the police, these characters are threatening to the persons they are sent to. In a feature post by the Washington Post, a 12-year-old girl from Fairfax, Va was charged with computer harassment and threatening her school via Instagram. The posted message, which read “meet me in the Library”, came along with bomb, gun and knife emojis.
However, the girl was somehow relieved following the ultimate conclusion by the Fairfax Schools that the threat was not in any way credible. Still, it is not clear what the outcome of the charge, which is currently in a juvenile court, will be.
Fairfax Schools’ incident is not the only case involving the use of emojis in the recent past. Just last year, a New York teenager was also charged for using emoji characters of three guns pointed towards the head of a cop emoji on his Facebook timeline. However, the teen was not indicted.
As the world keeps changing, new ways of doing things keep coming in. The law is still adjusting to how things are now working in the internet space. On the other hand, new emojis keep coming in each and every day. Since these are symbols and not words, understanding and interpreting them will obviously not be the same for everyone.
This is an interesting happening that might lead to some sought of law governing the use of these characters and the context in which they are used. However, it is important that you be careful with the emojis you use as you might find yourself in the hands of law enforcers.