The pistol emoji has existed in one form or another since at least 2010, but in 2016 Apple shook shit up by replacing it with something completely different: a harmless, lime-green water gun. Today, about a year-and-a-half later, Twitter is following suit.
With the release of Twemoji 2.6, Twitter is changing the way a handful of emojis look across the service. Those updates include a sharper-looking knife, a less Sputnik-esque alembic, and yes, a green squirt gun that will replace the cartoonish revolver in tweets. Twitter’s change could be read as a political statement, but the company’s delayed action makes it seem more like it’s just following with the general trend.
Along with Twitter and Apple, Samsung and WhatsApp also display water gun emojis in place of an actual gun. However, no matter how playful this (🔫) emoji may appear to, say, an iPhone user, it still shows up as a conventional firearm on Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, leaving room for miscommunications across various devices and platforms.