Apple has vowed to update its emojis after Miley Cyrus and actor Tahj Mowry complained about the cartoon emoticons’ lack of diversity. MTV Act blogger Joey Parker emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook about the issue and got this response from Katie Cotton, Apple’s vice president of worldwide corporate communications:
“Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”
Cotton didn’t say exactly when Apple will update its emojis. In fact, the unofficial campaign to make emojis more diverse has been running for more than a year, after Miley Cyrus responded to a Sephora tweet asking for more nail polish emojis by demanding that Apple add emojis to represent black people.
Parker notes that the drive to make emojis more diverse has been met with ridicule. For example, most comments on a Fast Company story called “Are Emoji Racist?” were dismissive and ranged from “lmao wow minorities are never happy” to more evenhanded responses noting that emoji were first available on iOS devices in Japan, making them Asian if they have a race. But Parker writes ‘although it may ‘just’ be an emoji, representation of all races and genders is an important part of working towards a more equal society.”
Image via MTV Act blog