The number of cases in which the emojis appear as one of the main evidence is growing steadily. The pictographs can be interpreted in different ways: for example, in a situation where under a seemingly innocuous symbol could mean life-threatening, the judge may stand on the side of the plaintiff, taking the icon as an aggravating circumstance.
Part Emoji as evidence grows exponentially: last year was considered 30% of such cases. Such statistics gives law Professor of the University of Santa Clara’s Eric Goldman, who tracked all mentions of the words Emoji (emoji) and “smile” (emoticon) in the judicial decisions made in the U.S. from 2004 to 2019.
According to Goldman, the icons take as evidence when considering a variety of cases from homicide to robbery, especially when the accused and the victim were texting each other. Seeing, for example, the icon with the picture of the weapon, the judge may find that the defendant had the propensity to commit crimes.
The Verge writes about another case in which prosecutors of San Francisco wanted to prove the guilt of the men arrested during the RAID against prostitution. One of the arguments was the icons with high heels and a bag of money, sent in a personal message Instagram one of the women. According to the prosecution, the nature of their correspondence testified to the established business relations, and invited into the courtroom expert for the trade in sexual services has interpreted these two Emoji as “put on your heels and make that money”. However, accused of pimping in his defense said that was just trying to initiate a romantic relationship. Ultimately, the court’s decision did not depend on the interpretation of emoticons, though, and had evidentiary support.
Another case happened in Israel last spring. Where the world court found guilty the two defendants and ordered them to pay a large penalty for irresponsible use Emoji. The court ruled that the couple misled the owner who published the announcement of the surrender of the house by sending him a message with the icon of dancing girls, an open bottle of champagne, palm with two fingers up and a Chipmunk. The landlord considered that the couple is ready to live in his house, so he removed the ad from the site.
However, some time later, the defendants stopped communicating with plaintiff. As a result, the owner found another tenant, and the couple sued. There ruled that the correspondence could not serve as a contract between the parties, has legal effect, however, sent icons “expressed great optimism” and put the plaintiff into error, so the pair is obliged to pay him compensation.
∎Approved the list of new Emoji for 2019 read more
The courts can be difficult to interpret Emoji because on different platforms, the same icon may look different. For example, in 2016, Apple has changed the icon of the gun on the water gun, which is clearly visible plastic trigger, and for a long time remained the only company with a toy badge. Google (developer of Android), Microsoft and other “disarmed” smileys only two years later.
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