Emojis Can Now Get You Arrested, Unless You’re Threatening A Woman In Tech Apparently
Now you not only have to worry about what your use of emojis (or lack thereof) is conveying to your significant other – you also have to keep in mind what they might mean to a jury.
Brooklyn teenager Osiris Aristy was arrested by the NYPD on January 18th, after a series of Facebook statuses he had posted three days earlier. Aristy’s posts included things like “[Expletive] run up on me, he gunna get blown down” and “Been jaxkin kingkkk sinxe the 5th grade.” Most of the posts included emojis of police officers with gun emojis pointed at their heads. Aristy has now been charged with making a terroristic threat, as the police felt that the posts constituted a threat against them, causing them to feel intimidated and harassed.
The full content of social media posts, emoji included, should absolutely be used to arrest and prosecute threatening individuals – but I admit to some frustration here. The NYPD can arrest a seventeen-year-old for his Facebook posts about them, but there still haven’t been any arrests made in the case of Anita Sarkeesian, who receives hundreds of threats like this (and far worse) every single day. There have been no arrests made in the case of Brianna Wu, who has men sending her explicit death threats via YouTube. When I was receiving hundreds of death and rape threats from angry men via Twitter, where was my recourse? If social media threats are going to be taken seriously by the police when they’re about the police, they really need to start taking them seriously in everyone else’s cases, too.