In an op-ed, a journalist argues that Facebook should get rid of its laughing reaction because of online bullying.
The emoji has been around for over a decade and is normally used for humorous purposes.
George Driver, a contributing writer with The Spinoff, said the emoji now signals “vitriol” and “scorn.”
“It takes just one person to click that avatar of vitriol and the post and my newsfeed is tainted forever,” he wrote. “Even on stories where the comments are turned off, you’ll still find that little androgynous face of scorn.”
Driver said the emoji has now become an “emoji of hate.”
“In a global pandemic, when social media feels more toxic and divisive than ever, this has made Facebook feel even more like the home of sneering bullies,” he said.
Journalist Daniel Walters said the emoji is “an A-hole” and had been “pressed into service for a more sinister purpose: Derisive mockery of sincere statements.”
“Make no mistake, Facebook’s laughing face emoji is laughing at you, and it’s doing so in a way far more infuriating than simply a written-out ‘ha ha’ or ‘lol.’”
Another journalist on Medium wrote the emoji discredits victims of sexual assault #MeToo movement.
“How do you expect women to come forward and report such crimes? It is one thing to not believe them,” the journalist said. “But it is worse when you laugh at them, mock them and reduce their self-worth to nothingness.”
“After five years, there seems to be only one solution…” Driver concluded. “[I]t’s time to cancel the haha emoji. Bring back the like and the lol if we must, but Grinning Squinting Face must be excommunicated from Facebook and purged from our newsfeeds forever.”