- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dozens of new emoji are scheduled to become available Tuesday, including smartphone-friendly designs depicting salad bowls, scooters and six different jugglers with varying skin tones. Despite being initially approved for release, however, a rifle emoji and another involving a pistol will no longer be included in next week’s update.

The decision to ditch the “rifle” and “modern pentathlon” designs from the next set of emojis was the result of an effort spearheaded by Apple and backed by Microsoft, BuzzFeed reported Friday.

Members of Unicode, the organization that oversees emojis, declined to go on the record with Buzzfeed with regards to how the decision come about. According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, Apple representatives made it clear during a quarterly meeting last May that the company wanted nothing to do with another firearm emoji.

A pistol emoji has been widely available since Unicode 6.0 was released in 2010, and the rifle emoji had already gained preliminary approval from the organization and was in the process of being properly encoded to appear in the forthcoming Unicode 9.0 release slated for June 21, BuzzFeed reported.

Nevertheless, “Apple told the consortium it would not support a rifle on its platforms and asked for it not to be made into an emoji,” BuzzFeed reported.

“I heard Apple speak up about it and also Microsoft,” recalled an Unicode member on hand at the meeting.

Before long, BuzzFeed reported, the Unicode consortium’s 12 full voting members — including Facebook and Yahoo, among others — agreed unanimously not to encode the rifle emoji or the icon for modern pentathlon, an Olympic story that incorporates pistol firing with fencing, swimming and other activities.

“I think what we’re seeing here with the rifle, is these big vendors and tech companies truly realizing what a big deal these emojis are,” an unnamed Unicode member told BuzzFeed.

Twitter announced earlier this week that over 100 billion emojis have been tweeted across its platform since 2014. Last month, meanwhile, a high school student in Biddeford, Maine was charged with felony terrorizing after allegedly posting an anonymous threat on an unrelated social media service that included the pistol emoji.

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