Instagram Attempts To Justify Why ‘Dog’ Is Associated With Chinese Takeout Emoji
By Izza Sofia, 10 Feb 2021
Image via ALEX_UGALEK / Shutterstock.com
An Instagram employee has found that searching the word “dog” on the company’s Story function would turn up an emoji of a Chinese takeout box.
It is said that the issue has only occurred through Apple devices, but not on Android phones, per BuzzFeed News. Other platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook have not replicated such results.
This has infuriated social media users, as associations between dogs and Chinese food are based on racial stereotypes.
“How are the emojis being recommended in this and can we remove this so this doesn’t perpetuate Asian racial stereotypes?” asked an Instagram product integrity program manager. “I’ve tested this with three of my family members and it shows up for them.”
BuzzFeed News reported that this issue has existed since 2019. In October 2019, a user claimed that they saw the takeout box when looking for “cute little dog GIFs on Instagram.”
“Why did I search up dog on @instagram and Chinese food comes up?” another user tweeted in early 2020.
According to Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, this issue is caused by the associated word “Doggy bag.”
“So it turns out one keyword associated with [Takeout box] in our system was ‘doggy bag’, so the search term ‘dog’ produced the emoji as a match. We have since removed that search term and we apologized that it was misconstrued, and to anyone, we offended,” Mosseri explained.
The Unicode Emoji Subcommittee, which helps new emojis gain approval on the platform, claims that the fault appears to lie on Instagram. Vice-chair of the committee Jennifer 8 Lee told BuzzFeed that “‘Dog’ is not a keyword for ‘takeout box’ in Unicode.” She added that while emojis can be linked to certain keywords, associations such as the aforementioned term are made within the app rather than in Unicode itself.
So it turns out one keyword associated with 🥡 in our system was "doggy bag," so the search term "dog" produced the emoji as a match. We have since removed that search term and we apologize that it was misconstrued, and to anyone we offended.— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) February 8, 2021
i was looking for cute little dog gifs on instagram and WHAT THE FUCK is that chinese food container doing there pic.twitter.com/EtsX9ALCED— stacie ;) (@stacieewallacee) October 19, 2019
Oh hey, look. More algorithmic racism on Instagram https://t.co/vWs9HHiFsG— Daniel Harvey #BLM (@dancharvey) February 9, 2021
[via BuzzFeed News, cover image via ALEX_UGALEK / Shutterstock.com]
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