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More Than 250 New Emoji, Including a Middle Finger, Are Coming Soon

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
June 16, 2014

The Unicode Consortium — the organization that sets the standards for the near-omnipresent icons we know as emoji — announced Monday afternoon that it will be releasing a new batch of images in its latest 7.0 update.

A list of the additions hints that this release will be both a chance to add brand-new emoji and also to update the look of old ones. For instance, the list includes something called “Black Hard Shell Floppy Disk,” which already exists. On the other hand, we are most certain that “Man In Business Suit Levitating” does not.

Apparently absent from these additions, which include 24 different directional iterations of leaves and flower buds, are more diverse human icons. If you’ll recall, the Internet has been hard at work rallying for emoji that portray African-Americans. After disapproving tweets from the likes of Miley Cyrus and others, some Netizens got together and launched a petition to add “at least four faces with some melanin: a man, a woman, a boy, and a girl.” That, in turn, spurred Apple CEO Tim Cook to assure the public that diverse emoji were indeed a priority. 

But Apple does not control emoji. The Unicode Consortium does. And though the new Unicode release does indicate that there will at least be support for several black hands, with various fingers raised, it does not appear that there are black faces among the set.

We’ve reached out to the consortium for comment. The new emoji will be available in July, and smartphone manufacturers will have to update their software before you see them on your device. Also note that manufacturers can pick and choose which emoji they’d like to support, so if Apple, say, doesn’t want to feature a raised middle finger, it doesn’t have to.

While you wait for the arrival of the fresh batch of emoji, check out a few of the most peculiar new additions:

• Reminder Ribbon
• No Piracy
• Hole
• Sleuth Or Spy
• Clamshell Mobile Phone
• One Button Mouse
• Two Button Mouse
Three Button Mouse
• Left Anger Bubble
• Right Anger Bubble
• Mood Bubble
• Lightning Mood Bubble
• Lightning Mood
• Very Heavy Solidus
• Very Heavy Reverse Solidus

See the full list here. And you can also check out some sketches of what the emoji might look like (in rough form, before Google and Apple and others touch them up) on the official Unicode website.

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her.