It’s a summer Olympics year and what better time would it have been to introduce new emoji with all of the activities from the Olympiad. Boxing, the pentathalon, handball and skeet. Well, you might have to do without the skeet — the rifle emoji that was already approved to be in the Unicode 9.0 standard that was released Thursday has been scrapped.
The Unicode Consortium, which deliberates and enacts the standards of characters in software such as emoji, confirmed that the symbol was dropped from the list of 72, but did not go into why.
Sources that were at the consortium’s May meeting told BuzzFeed News that Apple, an influential voting member, objected to the emojification of the rifle and asked for it to be removed from the standard. Microsoft concurred with the sentiment. After short deliberation, the members unanimously agreed to drop the emoji for the rifle and the modern pentathlon — one version of which featured an officiant firing a starting pistol.
It’s critical to observe what goes into emoji and what gets kicked out of it. Twelve organizations meet every three months to discuss what symbols should be included into a language being adopted by texters and netizens across the world. The current affairs, ethics and corporate interests that are all parts of this process will have meaningful impacts on how people communicate and how people interpret that communication.
No changes to the existing pistol emoji have been made.