Instant messaging platform WhatsApp has been sent a legal notice for its offensive “middle finger” emoji. In the legal notice, Delhi-based advocate Gurmeet Singh has asked the company to remove the objectionable emoji within 15 days.
According to Singh, showing the middle finger, even on a virtual platform, is not only illegal but is an “obscene” gesture.
The notice stated, “Showing of middle finder is not only offensive but a highly belligerent, invasive, obscene, lewd gesture.”
An emoji, for the uninitiated, is an ideogram commonly used in electronic messaging. Like emoticons, it can include facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather and animals, to name a few.
Singh further added, “As per the Indian Penal Code Sections 354 and 509, it is an offence to show obscene, lewd, offensive gestures to females. Use of a lewd, offensive, obscene gesture by anyone is hereby illegal also as aforesaid. As per section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 showing of the middle finger is also an offence in Ireland.”
“By offering to use middle finger emoji in your app, you (WhatsApp Inc) are directly abetting the use of offensive, lewd, obscene gesture,” the notice went on to state.