Tech giants turn down safe sext condom emoji

11:32 am on 10 September 2016

Facebook and Google are being irresponsible by refusing to install a condom emoji, the New Zealand Aids Foundation says.

Condom emojis were rejected by Facebook and Google as being "not family friendly".

Condom emojis were rejected by Facebook and Google as being "not family friendly". Photo: Supplied / New Zealand AIDS Foundation

The foundation has had some of its adds taken down by Google and Facebook because they were not "family friendly".

An emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.

The foundation, alongside condom company Durex, asked Unicode which decides on which new emojis to add for people to use on smart phones and apps to install one of a condom on World Aids Day last year.

The bid was denied but the foundation was only told why this week.

Aids Foundation spokesman Joe Rich said the bid was denied because it was not supported by industry partners such as Facebook and Google.

He said their refusal to install the emoji was extremely irresponsible.

Facebook reactions

Examples of emojis used on Facebook Photo: Facebook

"These companies say that promoting condoms is not considered family friendly," Mr Rich said.

"We have had our condom and HIV-testing advertisements pulled from Facebook and Google - we want them to step up and take leadership and acknowledge what people are using their platforms for."

Mr Rich said when there are emojis for guns, knives and pills it is extremely frustrating a condom emoji is considered unacceptable.

He said HIV was on the rise in New Zealand, so talking about safe sex was important now more than ever.

"Young people use emojis to depict everyday things and in discussions with friends- so a condom should be added.

"People are often surprised when they learn there is not a condom emoji and when we tell them it has been denied they are shocked," Mr Rich said.

He said the foundation wanted to put pressure on big tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook to accept the emoji, and adverts which promote the use of condoms.

"It's frustrating - the work we do is hard enough but to not even be able to talk to people on these platforms about safe sex is ridiculous," Mr Rich said.

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