A 12-year-old girl is facing criminal charges for using emojis
From spicing up Instagram captions and text messages, to showcasing 'Reactions' on Facebook posts, it seems the possibilities of emojis are endless.
Now, the modern-day hieroglyphics can land you in legal trouble, too.
The Washington Post reports that a 12-year-old girl from Virginia has been charged with threatening her school after posting a message on Instagram that included the words "killing" and "meet me in the library Tuesday," along with the gun, knife and bomb emojis. 🔫 🔪 💣
According to the Washington Post, the search warrant says the girl admitted to posting the message under the name of another student at her middle school.
The girl was scheduled to make a court appearance by the end of February, the Washington Post reported. Though it's uncertain if her case has been resolved, the girl's mother says her daughter posted the messages in response to being bullied in school, and is "a good kid" who's "never been in trouble."
This student's case is fresh legal territory -- however, similar cases have been popping up more frequently as of late, which presents an interesting new question that judges and prosecutors will now have to address: When do emojis constitute a legitimate threat?
Terror charges were dropped against a New York teenager in 2015 after he posted a police officer emoji with three gun emoji next to the officer's head online. 👮 🔫 🔫🔫
The attorney for Osiris Artisy, 17, told the New York Daily News that his client "expressed a dislike of the police based on a particular experience, but never threatened to act on that."
In other cases, people within the legal system have questioned whether emojis should even be admitted as evidence — and how courts should proceed if they are.
It is reported that a Michigan judge was once actually asked to interpret the meaning of a face with a tongue sticking out: :P.
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