Social media erupted with outrage on Tuesday when a Twitter user shared a picture of an LGBT rainbow flag with a crossed-out circle through it.
The emoji was believed to be an anti-LGBT emoji, according to The Sacramento Bee.
🏳️🌈⃠ why is this emoji even a thing?! This just makes me so mad…..
— Skai Jackson ♡ (@skaijackson) February 19, 2019
me online: 🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🏳️🌈
me with my parents: 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠
— Luis💕 (@luisortiza13) February 19, 2019
The “emoji” was also spread by right-wing social media users:
For everyone who wants to copy the Anti-LGBT emoji here you go.
🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠ 🏳️🌈⃠
— RightWing (@RightWi80681719) February 20, 2019
However, Fast Company reports that the emoji doesn’t actually exist.
“The thing is: This new Apple emoji does not exist. It’s simply a glitch in the system. When using unicode characters, it’s possible to put a strike-through circle next to an emoji and have it look as if it’s overlaying it,” WIRED reported.
According to one Twitter user, the emoji appears because of a unicode-related glitch:
Explaining the “anti-LGBT emoji” that popped up recently. pic.twitter.com/xFnX8VJpmK
— Gokuto 🍱 (@Sonzumaki) February 19, 2019
According to WIRED, the glitch doesn’t appear for every desktop user.
“The way the emoji appears is due to Unicode presentation on iOS, and on its own is not a violation of our rules,” a Twitter spokesperson told Paper magazine. “However, if a user is targeted with this kind of emoji, and we have context that the intention is to shame, degrade, or harass based on membership (or perceived membership) in a protected category, we will action under our Hateful Conduct policies.”