Emoji is causing big problems for the U.S. legal system

“The increase in the use of emoji in daily life is reportedly causing issues for the United States legal system, with courts slowly coming to terms with the how to interpret the iconography in evidence and its appearance in other court filings,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider.

“While the world has been quick to embrace the colorful messaging symbols, the slow-moving US justice system is glacial in comparison, and is having trouble handling their appearance in a variety of ways,” Owen reports. “‘Emojis show up in virtually every practice area because emojis are showing up across all types of online communications,’ Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman told The Recorder. ‘Emojis show up most frequently in cases where online chatter is a key source of evidence.'”

“The difference in emoji styling across platforms is also thought to be the cause of some lawsuits, despite attempts by Apple, Google, and others to harmonize what is depicted in each. One study referenced by Goldman notes at least 25 percent of respondents ‘were unaware that the emoji they posted could appear differently to their followers,’ and in cases where they were shown how a tweet of theirs was rendered across multiple platforms, one in five people said they would have edited or not sent the tweet at all had they known about the differences,” Owen reports. “The meaning of individual emoji, or those in groups, is also subject to interpretation by the courts, but they also present unique challenges. Their small size and the fact many emoji look similar makes it easy for a reader to misinterpret the intended meaning from the sender’s message. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: ⚖️🤞🏻.

👩🏽‍🎓👨🏻‍🎓👨🏿‍🎓: 🍻🍺!


  1. Consider these two sentences:

    While animals consume organic matter to obtain energy plant obtain their energy from the sun.
    While mammals are warm blooded other animals are cold blooded.

    Sentence 1 indicates that animals are not plants. Sentence 2, with the word “other” in it indicates that mammals are indeed animals.

    Following that simple logic this typical sentence “While the world has been quick to embrace the colorful messaging symbols, the slow-moving US justice system is glacial in comparison, and is having trouble handling their appearance in a variety of ways.” infers that the US justice system is not part of the world.

    Certainly this would be reason for joyous celebration around the world though most realize that the US justice system is indeed part of the world.

    Sad to see such denial from Apple’s home country but then again this is just another instance of trying to distance themselves from everything and everyone else on the planet. It’s so incredibly sad to see such xenophobia.

    The justice system of other countries has to deal with emojis as well, perhaps not a glacial pace but again new leaders will take their place.


    1. “Sad to see such denial from Apple’s home country” implies that the entire country is represented by this one writer, sad to see you making such a large leap of faith in your assumptions about the United States.

      There are nationalists and isolationist in every country but that does not mean everybody in any of these countries is a member of either group. By your logic, all Jewish people in Germany during WWII must have been Nazis since they were citizens of the country that brought them to power.

        1. The article’s writer implies nothing, but readers hereabouts will of course infer what they please, as we constantly do with every article posted at MDN.. There is hardly an easier way to spread the gospel of self, seizing upon any reported detail that might support one’s closely held beliefs and rebroadcasting it with prejudice. We’ll reinforce that by disputing, ignoring or downplaying contrary details, and if that doesn’t work we’ll change our tune and claim we believed the reverse all along. All’s fair in the self-promotion game, one that has made each of us an expert in deception and squanders the promise of our greatest trait, free will.

          1. Hello there, nice to see you again.

            If your comment is correct, that the article implies nothing but rather accurately describes the situation then I guess you believe that justice system of Apple’s home country is a totally distinctive entity from the world.

            Otherwise the sentence would have read something like:

            “While the REST OF THE world has been quick to embrace the colorful messaging symbols, the slow-moving US justice system is glacial in comparison, and is having trouble handling their appearance in a variety of ways.”

            If that’s the case, all I’ve got to say to that is WOW while I shake my head.

            I guess I’ll have to disagree with what you consider the greatest trait, free will. In my opinion life is a greater trait but hey that’s my free will to make that decision.

            Have a good one.

            1. Well, you know me. A hot-headed Irishwoman who thinks little of the consequences of her words and actions, and functions mainly on instinct – a recipe for marital, social and intellectual strife. Sad it is to realise what the evolving US Constitution wrought — a bunch of ignorant, opinionated suffragettes who were bought off their histrionics by being awarded a modicum of power.. Anyone suspected of being black is trebly accurst. Road Warrior exists on a plane above and beyond the cynical machinations that subtly derange the likes of me and my sisters. I am probably the least worthy woman you are ever likely to meet, but I’ve fight in me, right or wrong, and I’ll say what I please.. just as you do.

            2. Hello, Herself

              It’s an extra pleasant surprise to see you respond, we often miss a good discussion due to it. I admire someone who relies on instinct, it’s a refreshing change from the many that rely on insults, distractions and fail to address the issue at hand.

              I would not be too hard on the suffragettes though, there is a need to appreciate and respect women as well as other human beings who are being targeted for whatever flavor of the month hatred in the effort to divide, fragment and control the masses.

              To be fair, the type of sentence I’ve been harping on about is just an instance of a situation that goes beyond being political, and that falls in the cultural realm of western society, that of believing that humans are separate from nature. There are many such instances of that in the linguistic displays, one of my favorite personal encounters with such an approach was seeing “chemical free” sign at a stall during a farmers’ market. I inquired about how amazing the produce looked considering that it had never been watered. When the seller told me that the produce had been watered I looked surprised and pointed out that water is a chemical, thus the sign was erroneous. Bristling he told me that is not what the sign meant, but in the end was never able to explain what exactly the sign meant. Another of many instances.

              You may be the least worthy woman I’m every likely to meet but to me, I find you of refreshing value, a challenge to the intellect and empathy yet respectful to the being, and respectful to the topic at hand.

              You’ve got the fight in you, it’s the direction you take that is important. You may see right and wrong as separate entities, I don’t. I see them as opposite poles of the same entity, a question of perspective. Pick your battles, and nurture peace.

              Both of us saying what we please and disagreeing from time to time on the topic cultivates respect in my opinion. In your particular case, it’s kinda well sorta sensually stimulating as well. I smile as a result and my steps feel a little lighter.

    1. Maybe because it was an article about the US legal system.

      Writers have to make decisions about the scope of their articles every time they write. Larger scope (including more countries) requires more research and more time investment.

    2. Because the author didn’t have the time/resources to ask experts in every varying legal jurisdiction around the world, perhaps?
      Legal analysis can be very difficult, and even for something more general like this the author needed to get quotes from experts. It was easiest for the author to get quotes from experts in the U.S., probably because the website’s largest audience is the U.S. and the website is based in the U.S.

      It would have been silly to say “people in the U.S. have been quick to adopt…” instead of “the world” because that would have created a pointless implied negative inference about adoption by people outside the U.S. However, saying that that the U.S. legal system has many issues to deal with regarding emojis is a limitation that doesn’t really create the same kind of negative inference.

      So, the U.S. legal system was singled out because the author was writing for the audience he knew, using sources he had access to. I’ll bet other journalists elsewhere have written about other legal systems.

      1. Nice post, and if as you say the author did not have the time/resources to ask experts of various legal jurisdictions about the world then the author should have refrained from making a comparative statement, one very poorly worded in my opinion.

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