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No, Apple is not going to delete the Clown emoji from the iPhone

The fake screenshot and the clown emoji

A viral image claims Apple is removing the clown emoji from iOS for political reasons. The image in question is a complete fabrication, and Apple is doing no such thing.

Images shared on X appear to show a headline from CNBC, declaring "Upcoming Apple device update set to remove clown emoji: sources say emoji used as a Far-Right dog whistle'." The image adds that the story was originally posted on May 15, within its Technology category.

Due to the combination of the absurdity of Apple removing one emoji for vague political reasons, and possibly the framed outlet, the image went viral quickly. Some X users have been quick to share the image with others, passing comment on just the headline itself.

However, the image itself is a lie. According to Politifact, the screenshot has a completely fabricated headline.

Most of the image is real, with the publication timestamp and author matching a story about Mcdonald's posted at that time. CNBC also confirmed that the clown emoji story was never published by the news outlet.

Researchers believe the first version of the faked news image was published to a pro-Donald Trump message board, which was then shared by a conservative X account. The X account in question did at least delete the post, but not before others on X picked up the mantle.

While it can be used to mock others, the clown emoji currently isn't thought of as a hate symbol on its own.

Given the massive attention the fake headline has received in a short space of time, it does offer an important lesson. Many people can still get angry by a headline without checking for an actual story, despite years of "fake news" prompting internet users to be more proactive in checking if a story is true.

In short, Apple hasn't said the clown emoji is a problem, and won't be pulling it from your iPhone.

Emoji selection and changes

For the most part, the emoji included on the iPhone and most changes to it are handled by The Unicode Consortium and its Unicode Emoji Subcommittee. The ESC is the group that maintains emoji, including their addition and removal.

The ESC is also in charge of codifying the standards that vendors like Apple should follow when it comes to emoji. That includes generally how they are depicted, how complex emoji function, and the removal in rare cases.

While Apple is the target of ire from X users over the fake screenshot, the existence of the clown emoji won't be changed by the iPhone maker. Instead, it listens to instructions from the ESC on what it must do to emoji.

Though Apple will not be removing the clown emoji anytime soon, it has made some changes in the past. This includes the dancer emoji, as well as changing a pistol for a water pistol.

A UK schoolboy has also petitioned Apple to fix and rename the "nerd face" emoji, due to the bad impression he says it gives to glasses wearers.