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Emoji as Evidence

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Emoji as Evidence

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Emoji, the popular icons used in texts and social media posts (and their predecessor, emoticons), are increasingly being asserted as evidence of intent in both civil and criminal matters. What do “‍✌??” or “:-P” mean? They may have multiple meanings, depending on the context and who is interpreting them.

Recently, an Israeli court ruled in favor of a landlord that a potential tenant’s use of various emoji, including a hand gesture making a peace sign and a popping champagne bottle signified a statement of intent to “convey great optimism . . . and lead to [the landlord’s] great reliance on the defendants’ desire to rent his apartment.”

In 2015, a federal court in Michigan was asked to consider the meaning of “:-P” in the context of a civil case brought against the University of Michigan by a law student who had been accused of harassing and stalking another student. The judge held that the emoticon “does not materially alter the meaning of the text message”.

Expect to see more courts being asked to consider emoji and emoticons as evidence. Click here for an article with more information about the Israeli court decision.Contact us at Ossian Law P. C. contact link regarding any information technology law matter.

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