Twitter has announced a series of changes to its Twemoji 2.5 update. Perhaps, most importantly, following the example of several companies such as Apple, WhatsApp and Samsung, the gun will now be replaced by a water gun.
In 2016, Apple successfully pushed for the removal of a rifle emoji from the standardized collection of icons, a decision that was not surrounded by much contention since the argument was that there was already a gun emoji. However, shortly after, Apple made the decision to change the emoji of the gun by a bright green water pistol. The measure was seen as a political statement in efforts to stop the promotion of armed violence, and ended up being a standard that other companies later adopted.
In an email to TechCrunch, a Twitter representative said the change was made simply by "consistency" to match the way the emoji has changed on other platforms. However, it is hard not to see it as the minor political statement of Twitter, given the recent shootings on Parkland and YouTube, and how the details of these news events tend to start and also unfold on the platform.
Twitter has also faced an incredible backlash from the virulence that many say it allows, including threats of violence and physical harm. Recently, the platform announced that it is conducting a test so that users know its rules in order to encourage better behavior and a civil online discussion. While the company says that changing the emoji gun is just for consistency, the timing also suggests that this is one more step on Twitter to curb the methods used by trolls and online aggressors.
Other Twitter emojis that have received an update include the kitchen knife, which now looks more like a chef's tool with a riveted handle, the glass ball with a new curved clamping base and the still, which gets more details for Give it depth These changes will affect Twitter users on desktop computers, mobile devices and TweetDeck.