Twitter’s new emoji update ditches the pistol in favor of a water gun

Image: Emojipedia

Twitter has announced a number of changes in its Twemoji 2.5 update. Perhaps, most significantly, following the lead of several companies including Apple, WhatsApp, and Samsung, the pistol will now be replaced with a squirt gun.

In 2016, Apple successfully pushed to have a rifle emoji removed from the standardized collection of icons, a decision that was not surrounded by much contention as the argument was that a pistol emoji already existed. However, shortly after, Apple then made the decision to change the pistol emoji to a bright green water pistol. The move was seen as a political statement in efforts to stop promoting gun violence, and it wound up being a standard that several other companies later adopted.

In an email to TechCrunch, a representative from Twitter said the change was simply made for “consistency” to match how the emoji has changed across other platforms. However, it’s hard to not see it as Twitter’s own minor political statement, given the recent shootings at Parkland and YouTube, and how details for these news events tend to start and also unfold on the platform.

Twitter has also faced incredible backlash for the vitriol many say it allows, including threats of violence and physical harm. Recently, the platform announced it is running a test to make users aware of its rules in order to hopefully encourage better behavior and civil discussion online. While the company says changing the pistol emoji is just for consistency’s sake, the timing also suggests that this is one more step by Twitter to curb methods used by trolls and online aggressors.

Other Twitter emoji that have received a refresh include the kitchen knife, which now looks more like a chef’s tool with a riveted handle, the crystal ball with new, curved holding base, and the alembic, which gets more detail to give it depth. These changes will affect Twitter users on desktop, mobile, and TweetDeck.


Did the NRA lobby Twitter for a rifle emoji like they did with Apple before (with both companies refusing)?

It’s an interesting situation when your iOS friends send you what they thought was a water pistol, but was, in fact, an actual firearm on your end.

Yet another tiny tweak by Twitter instead of actually fixing their horribly broken platform.

I wonder how are they going to pacify the bomb emoji?
Or the the dagger?
Should definitely be 18+ in the UK

The UK will just make you show ID before sending a text.

This really seems like introducing risk to me. If the standard is an actual pistol, let’s presume I send a message that looks to me like:
"I’m going to come get you tonight!" [pistol emoji]
It looks like a squirt gun to me. The recipient sees an actual firearm. That’s a problem. People should stick to the standard for consistency. I understand the desire to make a statement, and that other companies have still made this mistake, but you should stick to the standard.

Yea I hate when we put political decisions on a standard made for communications, character pictographs, made to portray a meaning or a word.

If they’re too scared about gun violence and wanna be neutral in communication then they should just made another seperate squirting gun emoji

God I hate emoji censorship, even Microsoft hides all the explicit emojis like middle finger or swearing face emoji on their emoji keyboard. This shit doesn’t make any sense, it just adds to the problem

I’m not a ‘gun nut’ by any means, although I do support the 2nd amendment. However, I hate companies changing things like standardized emoji in order to make a political statement. Half the people who receive the gun emoji will now see a squirt gun, and the other half will see a pistol. The meaning has been ruined with Apple having started this mess.

Thanks, thought police!

Fact: In 100% of all water gun shootings, the victim is always the one with the water gun.

Don’t people fill water guns with acid…. didn’t I see that in a movie? Should we be offended by the water gun now? At least we still have the bomb.

This will solve everything!

A gun emoji should never have existed in the first place. In fact I’d venture so far as to say that any emoji other than the six or seven smileys are useless and redundant

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