© Penny Mordaunt MP - Portsmouth North

#GoodMannersEmojis petition

Please sign our #GoodMannersEmoji petition and join the global call for new emojis to help identify, call out and discourage rude behaviour or bullying on social media platforms. By showing support you will help us persuade the Unicode Committee to have the emojis installed on every device manufactured. The campaign is supported by The Jo Cox Foundation, Hollaback and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London.

About the campaign

 

There are ways people can deal with the most extreme forms of cyber bullying and abuse on social media, from reporting a person, blocking, identifying and reporting Bots or going to the police. However, there is a considerable amount of lower level bad behaviour, especially on twitter, which is creating an aggressive and abusive atmosphere. This is particularly the case in political discourse. In the real world we have developed social norms to deal with this kind of bullying, but we have not yet established these online.

 

This is affecting politicians, but also others in public life. From school governors, to charity trustees and campaigners.

 

Anonymous abuse, impersonation, saying critical things about a person on social media and copying the subject in, are all examples of behaviours which are difficult to respond to. The absence of a way of responding to this poor behaviour is resulting in it going unchecked. It is becoming the norm.

 

Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP is working with The Iconfactory to develop some emojis to help identify, call out and discourage rude behaviour or bullying on social media platforms. The designs are friendly, non-confrontational and a little bit sassy. They can be used to notify someone that you think they have overstepped the mark, or others that there is an issue. Similarly, if you think one of your friends is guilty of bad behaviour you can send them an emoji privately to suggest they ought to calm down, much easier and more likely to happen than an awkward conversation. If someone has a lot of the emojis on their timeline, especially if they are coming from all sides of the political spectrum or debate, then it may cause them to think about their attitude online, or demonstrate to service providers that a person is a problem user. 

 

Six emojis designs have been launched today together with a call for further ideas and requests of support. The emojis will then be pitched to the Unicode Committee to have them installed on all devices manufactured as part of the standard emoji menu. 

 

Penny Mordaunt said,

 

“The limited way people can respond to disrespectful behaviour on social media is resulting in polite, sensible people becoming a silent majority on these platforms. This affects politicians but also many others in public life, from school governors to public servants to charity trustees. It is my hope that these new tools can help us all create the social norms that are so lacking online.”

 

Politicians and campaign groups cross the world are being asked to support the initiative. This includes the prospective presidential candidates in the United States and the leaders of each political party in the UK. 

 

Early supporters of the initiative include the Jo Cox Foundation and Hollaback.

 

Catherine Anderson, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation said:

 

"Our public discourse has been heavily impacted by technology in recent years. Abuse and intimidation has become a winning strategy online, and its corrosive effect on society concerns us deeply at The Jo Cox Foundation. We need to use every tool at our disposal to encourage behavioural change and in doing so help strengthen democracy for coming generations. Every individual should take responsibility for promoting civil, respectful public debate and not feed the growing culture of abuse, bullying and intimidation. We're pleased to see simple interventions, such as these Unicode emojis, being trialled to support bystanders of online abuse to take action in a positive way."

 

Emily May from Hollaback said:

 

"When people see online harassment -- they often want to intervene they just don't know how. These emoji's are a simple but powerful strategy that allow every day people to intervene when they see harassment happening, and by doing so, shift the culture that makes harassment "ok" online."

 

Julia Gillard, 27th Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London is backing the initiative. She said:

 

“Research shows that it is disproportionately women who are abused online. It is never easy to work out how to respond. Women debate should I ignore it or write back. These emojis will give a new option. A big thanks to Penny for coming up with this creative approach.”

 

Thank you for signing and please share via social media using #GoodMannersEmojis

About the emojis:

 

Six designs have been produced. They all feature a new character, a representation of the internet and social media. The character embodies the idea that social media space is for everyone and we all have a responsibility to ensure it is respectful and non-bullying. The emojis show this new character I various poses, responding to poor behaviour. The poses are:

 

  • Blowing a Whistle - a stronger rebuke, alerting others to bullying.

  • Holding up a yellow card- indicating that behaviour is unpleasant and warning a person may be blocked or reported.

  • Peering over glasses- that you are disapproving of the behaviour

  • Someone being abusive behind a mask- to call out anonymous abuse or impersonation, and alerting people that the content my not be genuine.

  • Reaching out for a hug- to sending support to someone you see being badly treated.

  • And finally wagging a finger- a stronger encouragement to stop the behaviour.

 

The emoji sketches are attached. From these designs the final emojis will be produced for the Unicode pitch.

 

The campaign is using the hashtag #GoodMannersEmoji