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WhatsApp gets legal notice to remove middle-finger emoji in 15 days

A Delhi-based lawyer has sent a legal notice to instant messaging application WhatsApp to remove the middle-finger emoji. The lawyer went ahead to call it a “belligerent, invasive, obscene, lewd” gesture.

Gurmeet Singh, a Delhi-based lawyer has sent the notice calling middle-finger as a rude gesture. He has given WhatsApp a 15-day window to remove the emoji from their set of emojis, stating it to be a rude and abusive towards women as well.

WhatsApp to remove Middle finger emoji?

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While it is evident that the middle finger is a rude gesture, it was not called out offensive by anyone and legal actions were also not taken. The emoji was recently added to the array and has since been used.

Coming to the legal notice, Gurmeet Singh has sent a legal notice to WhatsApp to remove the middle-finger emoji in 15 days, after which he will go on to file a civil or criminal case against the messaging platform.

Singh has mentioned many acts of the Indian Constitution, confirming middle finger to be a lewd gesture. The notice read, “As per the Indian Penal Code Sections 354 and 509, it is an offense to show obscene, lewd, offensive gestures to women. Use of a lewd, offensive, obscene gesture by anyone is hereby illegal also as aforesaid. As per Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994, showing of the middle finger is also an offense in Ireland,” 

The notice also alleges WhatsApp of allowing and promoting the use of abusive language by having this emoji. It reads, “By offering to use middle finger emoji in your app, you (WhatsApp Inc) are directly abetting the use of offensive, lewd, obscene gesture.”

While WhatsApp is not the only platform having the middle-finger emoji, it is definitely one of the major ones. There is no statement from WhatsApp about the matter so far.


Abhishek Bhatnagar

Abhishek Bhatnagar, a known technology blogger & YouTuber from India. A Software Engineer by qualification, now he works as the editor-In-Chief, Webmaster, & Managing Director at Gadgets To Use. He runs a number of other technology websites as well.