Apple added more than 150 emojis to the stock keyboard in iOS 9.1, which officially arrived to the public yesterday. And one of those emojis – a speech bubble with an eye in the center – is supporting a new anti-bullying campaign, I Am A Witness.
Wired has more information about the campaign and how the emoji was added to iOS. Led by the Ad Council, it is targeted toward children who see others being bullied. Officially known as the Witness Emoji, it allows kids to take a stand against bullying and show support for those being bullied.
Here’s a TV spot about the campaign. Click here if you can’t see it.
The Ad Council used feedback from children to help create the emoji.
According to the Wired story, when the group presented the emoji to Apple, the company was able to put the symbol on the fast track instead of waiting for the usual one or two years. Apple decided to do that by combining two existing emoji, the eye and a left speech bubble:
“When Apple explained to us how they made it happen, they started talking about zero width joiners and it was just way over our heads,” says Goodby copywriter Kate Baynham. But how Apple did it was inconsequential. What mattered most to the creative team, she says, was that Apple had liked the design, liked what it represented, and gone above and beyond to support the campaign.
If you don’t yet have iOS 9.1 installed on your device, you can download the I Am A Witness Keyboard app now on the App Store for free. The third-party keyboard contains the emoji along with a number of other stickers and GIFs to help support the program and allow kids to send messages of kindness.
A number of other tech companies, like Adobe, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Whisper, Kik, and Google have also joined the program to spread the word about the symbol.
Some of the other emoji added in the latest iOS update include taco, burrito, hot dog, and even a middle finger. The new software can be downloaded now over-the-air by going to Settings, General, Software Update on your iOS device or through iTunes.
It’s so great to see Apple and other companies jump on the bandwagon and help teens use technology for such a fantastic cause.
For other news today, see: The new controller for Guitar Hero Live is crippled by a bug, Cut the Rope: Magic will take Om Nom into a fun, new world, and The books hold the keys in Lost Souls: Timeless Fables.