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'more Diverse' Emoji Faces Planned

By BBC News

November 11, 2014

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The emoji face icons could soon reflect greater racial diversity.

The popular icons include a wide range of symbols and logos, and they are compatible with many mobile devices. A proposed update would expand the diversity of the face icons beyond the current options, which now consist of two Asian people--a "man with a turban" and a "man with gua pi mao," a Chinese-style hat.

The industry standard-setter for emoji, Unicode, plans to give developers of chat apps or other similar services the opportunity to use a modifier that can alter face icons to be displayed with one of five alternative skin tones. Unicode could formalize the additions in 2015. "People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity," Unicode says. The nonprofit helps sets standards for how devices handle and display text and other graphical elements, ensuring accuracy.

"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," notes Apple's Katie Cotton.

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