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Apple could face penalty in Russia over same-sex couple emoji inclusion

same-sex couple emoji

Apple could potentially be facing a fine upwards of one million rubles in Russia (which is only about $15,000 USD) over its inclusion of same-sex couple emoji characters on the built-in iOS keyboard. The Independent reports that police in Russia have began an investigation into Apple to determine whether the company has violated a highly controversial national ban on activity its government considers homosexual propaganda.

Local police in Russia’s Kirov region began their enquiries after Orthodox activist and lawyer Yaroslav Mikhailov complained that the images violated a controversial 2013 law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors.

While Apple does include the emoji keyboard as a built-in alternative keyboard on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches and has a say in what characters it presents, which emoji that become candidates for inclusion starts with the Unicode Consortium. Working with that group, though, Apple has used recent iOS updates to add the same-sex couple emoji among many others as it expands its support for more diverse characters with realistic skin tones and additional national flags. Apple’s upcoming iOS 9.1 update currently in development further expands the emoji character set including one new emoji it may have to provide depending on how the Russian police’s investigation goes (and I don’t mean the taco or the unicorn) …

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  1. Really Russia? Get over yourself, there are a bunch of different types of people in the world. No matter how much you try to police it, they will still exist.

    • Spencer Balensiefer - 8 years ago

      Yes, but you can say the same about yourself, really. 84% of the world believes in a set of morals other than you, America supposedly, and Europe do. These people work on having nuclear families that stay together. There ARE different types of people in the world. TAnd they will always exist.

      • discreetsecuritysolutions - 8 years ago

        And now they all have emoji.

        99.9% of people aren’t Furries, but there’s a Unicorn icon. 0% of people are actually devils, but there’s an icon for that too.

        Get over it.

      • Spencer Balensiefer - 8 years ago

        OP is as such: “there are a bunch of different types of people in the world. No matter how much you try to police it, they will still exist.”. Please, get over it yourself, too. Russia has a right to an opinion as does Apple.

  2. AeronPeryton - 8 years ago

    Is Russia the last non-middle eastern country that has a stick up its butt about homosexuality?

  3. Please respect traditions and another cultures, if its not decently in RF – so let them deal with it themselves. Homosexuality is the personal thing, this right of personal life is well protected here, but its not allowed to promote, propaganda homosexuality among children, its a grownup decision. Isnt that simple?

  4. Jake Becker - 8 years ago

    here, have some government

    • borntofeel - 8 years ago

      Please, that has nothing to do with government. The US are far more restrictive than Europe in actuality.

      • Jake Becker - 8 years ago

        Then what body creates laws?

  5. 89p13 - 8 years ago

    Yes – Because emojis of same sex families will make you crave that lifestyle.

    Putin – Do the world a favor – shot yourself to Uranus!

  6. RUSSIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAa all the way <3

    • Dave Huntley - 8 years ago

      All the way to the emigration line ups you mean, you will note theres a huge outflow of people from russia, because it is a backward 3rd world corrupt dump where the avg male doesnt even live long enough to reach retirement age, much of africa beats that.

      So if russia is so good, why do u think tens of thousands are year move to the west? Why do u think even those who stay including putins cronies move their $$$ to the west ?

      • this 3rd world sent first man to space) first space station, first woman-cosmonaut) US makes good phones, RF makes nice aircraft and space engines, that US uses in space program

      • also first sputnik(satellite), first animals cosmonaut dogs Belka and Strelka in space, successfully retuned, first moon explorer Moon-2, first man in open space Leonov, first Venus explorer station in 1966, first Mars exprorer station in 1971

  7. gshenaut - 8 years ago

    If you actually look at the pictures, all three of the “couples” look like two children holding hands, one picture for each possible pair. These could serve as emojis for gay couples, certainly, but also for heterosexual childhood friends, or any number of other nonsexual pairings. In effect, not only is this Russian effort a pitiful example of homophobia, but it is an even more pitiful example of an unhealthy obsession with sex!

  8. appl3w0rm - 8 years ago

    Stop your thinking process right now!
    Russian politicians just don’t like it at all, because they seem to be adding strange rules every time they wanna do it.
    Their regulators have access to block any website with innapropriate material without even a lawsuit, the government wants to block bitcoin (and other encrypted currencies).

    I wish I didn’t know Russian language, I don’t wanna cry anymore

  9. really guys, you’re like maniacs – «russia, russia, russia, putin, putin, putin» ) you need to learn some respect science) please do your business and do not pay much attention to another’s) peace :)

  10. mytawalbeh - 8 years ago

    Well I don’t see these are indicate homosexuality but in speaking of that will Jesus be happy with that ?!

  11. Scott Salser-Smith - 8 years ago

    Funny that some of the best gay porn online comes from Russia. Just sayin…

  12. mtitech94 - 8 years ago

    It’s funny because they would also do this to google as they have those emojis as well

  13. Dan (@danmdan) - 8 years ago

    Crazy, homophobic, buggers !

  14. rafagon726 - 8 years ago

    Can’t wait to see how the Middle Finger emoji is received :)

  15. Spencer Balensiefer - 8 years ago

    Sorry, people. Minors are minors. They should not be exposed to anything, period. How do like all the Viagra commercials that pop up in America over your family sitcoms? Disgusting.

  16. you’d think with so much turmoil going on the world, the russian government would have better things to do.


Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.