The days are numbered for a controversial emoji.

Google is the latest platform to change the pistol emoji to a squirt gun.

The orange squirt gun with a water tank on top, which looks similar to the Super Soaker 30 of the mid 1990s, will replace the gray-and-brown revolver in emoji keyboards on Android devices in an update rolling out to users, according to Emojipedia , a website that tracks all things emoji.

Concerns about the pistol emoji grew after the 2016 mass shooting at an Orlando night club. Apple switched the pistol emoji to a squirt gun months after the shooting. A proposed rifle emoji set to be released alongside other characters for the 2016 Summer Olympics was also scrapped.

Samsung and Twitter replaced the pistol emoji with cartoonish-looking squirt guns this year. Facebook told Emojipedia it will soon replace its pistol emoji, leaving Microsoft as the remaining major platform to still use a realistic looking gun.

Microsoft declined to comment to Emojipedia about its plans for the pistol emoji. Microsoft used a toy-like ray gun as its pistol emoji when the character was first introduced.

While Apple’s move away from the pistol emoji might have been prompted by gun violence at the time — CEO Tim Cook held a moment of silence as he opened Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference just days after the Orlando shooting in 2016 — other companies might have followed suit to preserve conformity across platforms. Even though Apple changed the pistol emoji, it still appeared in tweets, Facebook posts and text messages on non-Apple devices.


(c)2018 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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