Emojis have pretty much become an integral part of our online lives. Most of use the Emojis to express better and add an element of fun to our conversations. In fact, Emoji 11.0 is all set to arrive with new flippable Emojis. An Advocate on Tuesday has sent a legal notice to WhatsApp to remove the “middle finger” emoji. The Advocate, Gurmeet Singh claims that the middle finger emoji is obscene, lewd gesture and is also illegal in India.
“As per the Indian Penal Code Sections 354 and 509, it is an offense to show obscene, lewd, offensive gestures to females. Use of a lewd, offensive, obscene gesture by anyone is hereby illegal also as aforesaid. As per section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 showing off the middle finger is also an offense in Ireland.”
He further added that “showing the middle finger is not only offensive but a highly belligerent, invasive, obscene, lewd gesture.” The advocate has further extrapolated the allegations and goes on to say that “By offering to use middle finger emoji in your app, you (WhatsApp) are directly abetting the use of offensive, lewd, obscene gesture.”
The legal notice further demands that WhatsApp removes the middle finger emoji or photo from WhatsApp within 15 days from the date of receiving the legal notice. If it fails to do so the applicant is likely to file civil or even criminal cases. That being said emojis have often been the bone of contention for some. This was one of the reasons why in 2015 Apple (and others) added support for Racially Diverse Emoji. I personally feel the outrage is uncalled for and implying that the “middle-finger” emoji will abet the use of offensive obscene gesture is sheer insanity. However, it would be interesting to see how well WhatsApp will battle out the legal notice.