Russia wants to ban ‘gay-emojis’ on social media
At first, I wanted to write a blog post about the use of propaganda in social media. Then I read an article that really got my attention. Russia is considering to ban ‘gay emoji’s’ on social media. Ridiculous right?! This got the attention in the media after a lot of claims were made in Russia that the icons are illegal under tough laws about homosexual propaganda.
Apple first introduces the ‘gay emoji’s’ back in 2012. At the same time they were bringing more symbols with more ethnic diversity and a greater range of ages. Another update this year introduces emoji’s showing gay couples with children (IOS 8.3). Apple is even under investigation by the Russian police because the emoji’s would illegally promote homo sexuality.
According to a Russian lawyer, Yaroslav Mikhailov, Apple breaks the Russian law, which states that organizations are not allowed to promote homosexuality to minors. If found guilty Apple has to face a fine ranging from 800,000 – 1.000.000 rubles (€8.500 – €11.000). They also could be suspended in Russia for up to three months when they found guilty. In my opinion, How is an emoticon able to ‘promote’ homosexuality in a country? Of course, we already knew Russia is not as tolerant towards the gay community compared with other western countries, but still.
This also shows that Russia wants to have influence on social media, which is the biggest open communication source in the world. They want to implement limitations for there own social media users. This is contrary to the fact that social media has to be an open communication source without limitations for the users.
I think it is a great idea to bring more diversity in the emoji’s. A lot of social media users, use them on the big social media platforms, like: WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. By the time of 2011, a lot of social media users were already asking for more diversity in the so called emoji’s. It sounds funny, but in a way is social media and emoji’s supporting equality in the world. It reflects the will of the people for more equality, even in social media emoticons.
How do you feel about social media censoring in this way, keeping in mind that social media is an open communication source? And how should a company like Apple deal with such accusations?