Melanie McCann of Canada competes in the modern pentathlon during the 2015 Pan Am Games
Melanie McCann of Canada competes in the modern pentathlon during the 2015 Pan Am Games

Apple keeps rifle emoji from appearing on keyboard ahead of Olympics

Microsoft also asked that the rifle be kept from appearing on people’s phones, according to reports

Andrew Griffin
Monday 20 June 2016 17:41

There will be no rifle character on the emoji keyboard, after it was rejected by the officials who decide on it.

The little character had been originally approved as part of an Olympic-themed update last October, which also included pictures like a boxing glove and a fencer. But it was immediately met with criticism by campaign groups.

Now the Unicode Consortium that decides future emoji has decided to drop the rifle. The decision came after pressure from Apple and was supported by Microsoft, according to Buzzfeed.

The “modern pentathlon” emoji – which depicts the shooting event that is part of the sport – was also kept from the new update. As well as showing shooting, the proposed image for that character is a little busy and so may have been rejected on aesthetic grounds.

The Olympic update keeps other sports such as wrestling and water polo. In all it will include 70 new characters.

The emoji keyboard does include a traditional-looking handgun, which won’t be affected by the deal. But it’s one of only a few weapons – which also include two different swords, a knife and a bomb – among the 1,800 characters that make up the available emoji.

The decision was made by the Unicode Consortium, which is made up of all of the various companies that integrate emoji into their platforms. Though each of the companies – including Apple and Microsoft – draw the images for their own services, the work that Unicode does ensures that each of the images are standardised.

Some of the companies involved in Unicode had already added the rifle and other images to upcoming updates, presuming that the full list would be included. But it is easy to change those images out, Unicode president Mark Davis told the BBC.

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