Twitter users reacted with confusion and anger after an anti-Pride emoji appeared on the social media site. An emoji is a small icon that displays emotions or ideas in electronic communication.
The emojis appears as a pride flag with a strike through symbol over the flag. The symbol only appears on mobile devices, on desktops the anti-Pride emoji looks like the strike through fused side by side with a rainbow flag.
WHY IS THERE AN ANTI GAY FLAG EMOJI… IM SCREAMING 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠ ??? pic.twitter.com/PikdyxJAvn
— Honey Lemon Daily (@rossleonardy) February 19, 2019
Twitter users were quick to accuse emoji creators, Unicode, of creating a homophobic emoji. Unicode is responsible for defining which emojis make onto all platforms, including iPhones, Android devices, and computers. It recently announced it would introduce gender neutral and same-sex couples emojis.
‘Why is this anti pride emoji a thing. I’ve never been so confused,’ wrote one Twitter user.
A glitch in the Unicode
But after a few hours of outrage it became clear the anti-Pride happened because of a Unicode glitch. One Twitter user found that the glitch allowed people to overlap certain emojis. He immediately used it to put the strikethrough symbol over the pride flag, even though he identifies as gay himself.
Once other Twitter users realized various symbols could be spliced, they started getting creative.
okay so y’all know that it’s not an anti pride emoji, there’s just a unicode cancel symbol so you can put it on anything? 🐒⃠🏈⃠🏴⃠🧮⃠🧹⃠👿⃠🕵️⃠🏄⃠💅⃠ 🥥⃠🚫⃠
And thus I present, the anti-straight emoji 👫⃠
— Julia (@difficultpeasy) February 19, 2019
But homophobes also caught wind of the glitch and used it to spread anti-gay sentiment.
the promise of the anti pride emoji was the push I needed to finally update my phone
— patrick (@patrickkk_h) February 20, 2019
One Twitter user noticed that although the glitch allowed people to fuse different emojis, the anti-Pride flag emoji was the most popular.
Ik the anti gay emoji is a glitch, but’s it a bit suspicious that even though the glitch works with any emoji, the crossed out pride flag is the only one that shows up in “frequently used”. I dunno, maybe it means nothing, though pic.twitter.com/hY9ceEAxG4
— Stay Back, Slut 🔫 (@SlytherinBabee) February 20, 2019