Microsoft causes controversy by removing ‘offensive’ emoticons from Skype

Saqib Shah
May 1, 2014

Microsoft has caused confusion and controversy by removing a select number of emojis, aka emoticons or ‘smileys’, from Skype.

Despite the changes having been made without any vocal opposition over a month ago – in the wake of Skype community managers worrying that the emojis may be potentially offensive to users – Skype users are now banding together to protest against the move.

Skype message boards and forums are filled with complaints from users who claim that the emoji update is curtailing their rights to express themselves in the name of “political correctness” and “sensitivity”.

The emojis in question include a smiley face flipping the finger and a pair of women’s legs wearing high heels – reportedly an in joke related to former Skype CEO’S personal assistant, Stella Hollest.

User are also perturbed due to Skype’s decision to keep a number of other emoticons that could easily be viewed as offensive too. These include a man mooning the camera, a smiley face puffing on a cigarette and another googly-eyed chap who appears to be drunk.

In a move to seemingly appease its users, Skype has instead introduced a number of new rude, but supposedly inoffensive, emoticons. These include a defecating sheep and a saluting Captain America ‘ just type in (sheep) and (shielddeflect) respectively.

Skype was launched more than ten years ago, and was acquired by Microsoft in 2011, eventually replacing the out-dated Windows Live Messenger service all together in 2013.


About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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