Facebook Are Holding Their Ground Against a Campaign for a Crucifix Emoji

Emoji can be used for a range of different things - expressing an emotion, telling a story without words, reacting to something, creating a very poor quality comic strip, the list goes on. In some cases, they have been the subject of controversy, especially when new ones get introduced which represent an idea or belief system that some people don't agree with. In this instance, it's the crucifix, but not for the reasons that you might expect.

On the 9th of June, in conjunction with the ongoing Pride celebrations taking place around the world, Facebook introduced a rainbow flag reaction emoji. It's not the first time they've added a temporary additional emoji to the small reaction list, in May it was a purple flower, meant to symbolise Mother's Day. Nobody really took issue with that one, but the Pride emoji has caused a bit of a stir.

On the 24th of June, an image appeared asking Facebook to introduce an emoji featuring the crucifix symbol. The image also pointed directly to the rainbow flag emoji, coupled with the statement "You added this one. We're waiting for this one". It had been posted by Joshua Feuerstein, an evangelist who in the past few years has risen to internet fame, most notably for starting the #MerryChirstmasStarbucks campaign last year.

Since Feuerstein has 2 million followers on Facebook, the post soon saw thousands more shares and comments, with some of them demanding that Facebook do as requested, and others directly attacking LGBTQ culture. Facebook haven't directly responded to this in any way, but when the Huffington Post reached out to them for comment, they asserted that there was no crucifix reaction in development. It's extremely unlikely that Facebook will even release an official statement on the matter, let alone actually consider meeting this bizarre demand.

Feuerstein has cultivated a reputation as one of Facebook's most prominent trolls. His page is littered with disturbing imagery and inflammatory statements, many of them rallying against abortion, secularism and firearm legislation. Gay rights have been a favourite target of his since the beginning, and in fact it was his verbal assault on the Cut the Cake bakery in Florida which brought him to wider attention in the first place.  In almost every instance, the reactions against his proposed campaigns have been stronger than the support.

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