Emojis May Cost You Legal Troubles

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Written by
3 months ago

Do you use emojis frequently in your Internet and mobile communication?

There are many court cases worldwide for interpreting emojis differently by the people. The use of emojis resulted in substantial monetary and legal punishment.

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So, be careful about using emojis.

Use emojis sparingly, or don't use emojis at all.

Emoji may be considered a short digital language.

There are so many languages spoken and written that can be conveniently typed out in the digital world using computer keyboards or touchpads of handheld devices.

  • Emojis are tiny image icons that complement our memes, messages, and texts.

  • These are tiny images of hearts, thumbs up, face cartoons, objects, etc.

  • There are probably more than three thousand emojis in the Internet media.

  • More than 92 percent of millennials use emojis in day-to-day Internet communications.

In the past few years, there has been more than a 700 percent rise in emoji usage!

Can emojis always convey the correct message?

  • Are you sure emojis do the job appropriately to convey the correct message?

Emojis may not convey the same meaning to everybody in all spaces.

  • One emoji on Facebook may bear a slightly different meaning on YouTube.

  • One often gets confused by emojis because an emoji doesn't convey the reply message the receiver person expects from the sender.

If one receives an emoji when they very much expect to receive a solid text reply, the receivers may take it as a signal of an absence of seriousness.

But emojis may also lead to facing court cases!

  • Sometimes, it may also so happen that people are taken to court for thumbs up.

That is what happened to a farmer in Canada!

  • A Canadian farmer had to pay a fine of sixty-one thousand dollars for thumbs up.

The farmer wanted to sell some agricultural items to a buyer.
The buyer texted and communicated that the buyer wanted to buy.
The farmer sent/replied a thumbs up.
The farmer didn't deliver any items.
The buyer complained in court.
The court ruled a fine on the farmer for not delivering the items to the buyer!

  • The buyer assumed the thumbs up as a confirmation of delivery of the items.
    But the farmer sent the thumbs up to convey that he received the message.
    The court found the buyer's complaint valid and fined the farmer.

  • The court ruling wrote, by definition, the thumbs-up emoji meant agreement. The farmer broke the deal and hence was fined.

Emojis are also coming up in several court cases around the globe, mostly in sexual harassment and criminal cases.

In France, a man is convicted for threatening his ex-girlfriend by sending a gun emoji. The man was sentenced to six months of jail and twelve-hundred dollars fine.

In New Zealand, a man was convicted of stocking and was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.

There are many more cases, and many are coming in the news.


I have just started to send emoji replies to short messages, and sometimes at the end of sentences in my short posts on LinkedIn and comments on ReadCash and elsewhere.

I wouldn't say I like the idea of emojis put up in messages.

I have decided not to use emojis in my messages or text communications.

I will also avoid emojis in text comments on ReadCash and elsewhere.

What is your opinion about emojis?

Acknowledgment: I must thank Samita Chatterjee, a writer, artist, and filmmaker, for her LinkedIn post on the topic.


Unity (Debesh Choudhury)

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#emoji #communication #language #legal #troubles

Aug 07, 2023

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Written by
3 months ago


What is this Unity - a man was convicted of stocking?

I guess there was nothing wrong in emojis as long as you express your intention or necessary messages included with it. When busy like that farmer ( I think he was) instead of replying emojis, wait until you can write what you really want to send. (Not to mention that sometimes we press things on phone "accidentally", like it will auto click when you're in a rush and you're not aware it's being like that in your bag etc)

Threat even in just plain messages is not good. Good you made us aware of this.

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3 months ago

I agree with the order by the Justice(s) of the court. I often feel that emojis are full of ambiguities and miscommunication.

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3 months ago

While emojis add flair to communication, their interpretation can be subjective, potentially leading to legal issues; it's crucial to use them judiciously and consider their context to avoid misunderstandings.

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3 months ago

Thanks for reiterating the points from my article.

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3 months ago

Uh! I never thought those cute little icons can send someone to jail...

I think I will stick with :) ... :D.

I hope I won't get into trouble by simply smiling.

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3 months ago

I started to use emojis very recently. Those are meaningless tiny images. When I get an emoji reply to my serious text questions/messages/comment, I mark the person as NOT serious.

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3 months ago