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New emoji characters to feature racially diverse faces soon


Many times emojis have saved our lives and helped us to spice up our conversation and express facial responses properly, when we fell short of words. Unicode Consortium, a group that handles the use of emoji online wants to diversify and upgrade them to make them more personally appealing to more number of users. The Consortium wants you to be able to send emoji customized according to your ethnicity and race, thus change them in a diverse way. Yes, racial iteration is what is on the cards for the next emoji update.emoji-skintone-modifier

The skin color will be key in the new emojis, where you can assign it according to your preference. Unicode 8.0 proposal has reported and planned to roll out new emoji faces in five different skin tones for better interaction and expression. However, this update is just on paper at the moment and it will take its sweet time to be implemented. The Consortium is on it and more than 33 emojis will be updated with the skin tone variations by June 2015.

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The proposal says,”Of course, there are many other types of diversity in human appearance besides different skin tones: Different hair styles and color, use of eyeglasses, various kinds of facial hair, different body shapes, different headwear, and so on. It is beyond the scope of Unicode to provide an encoding-based mechanism for representing every aspect of human appearance diversity that emoji users might want to indicate. The best approach for communicating very specific human images—or any type of image in which preservation of specific appearance is very important”.

Many users are excited at the news as they wanted black emojis on their smartphones and by June 2015 they will have it. The roll out will surely diversify the world of emojis and give users what they need. But only single emojis will be updated according to this proposal. The group or couple with heart emojis will not be diverse if they have different skin tones as both faces in the couple emoji will have the same skin tone. This might be the next thing people will want the Consortium to look at.

The coding standards if approved will make many people happy and smartphones will be able to provide a better experience to their diverse users.

In March of 2014, MTV contacted Apple to ask about the lack of racial diversity in the current set of emoji. Then-Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Communications; Katie Cotton responded:

Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.

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About Sara Rose

rose@thenextdigit.com'
She has spent the past 4 years playing the role of an IT consultant, and has now joined The Next Digit as a full time blogger. Her current profession is a result of her deep experience in computer gadgets, laptops, gaming accessories and other tech updates.

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