Stutter charity calls out Apple for 'stammering' emoji gaffe

Posted:
in iOS
A charity in the U.K. has called out Apple for users seeing a "woozy face" emoji when they type the word "stammering" into iOS messaging apps.




The keyboard and apps on the iPhone are prone to suggesting emoji alongside other words when entering letters. On Tuesday, a charity publicly complained about one suggestion, which offers a "woozy face" emoji when users type the word "Stammering."

STAMMA, the British Stammering Association, claims it has been contacted by hundreds of its members, who saw the offending emoji on their iPhone and iPad when searching for the word.

"This is demeaning and damaging. Stammering is how some people talk," said STAMMA CEO Jane Powell. "Treating it as a joke is stigmatizing. It can leave people embarrassed about how they sound, bullied and ashamed, which can affect their mental health, careers, and relationships."

Member complaints say the emoji appears in various apps, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and iMessage, with it surfacing when the keyboard is in use.

The emoji in question is known on Emojipedia as "Woozy face," and takes the form of a face with one eye half open and an uneven smile. In WhatsApp, the emoji features a sticking-out tongue, while its official Unicode 11 name is "Face with Uneven Eyes and Wavy Mouth."

It is unknown exactly why the emoji appears in the keyboard, but machine learning may be behind its inclusion. Apple, and other tech companies, incorporate machine learning into their products, which can be used to determine things like common word or emoji usage for specific terms, which could be an explanation for the situation.

AppleInsider was able to recreate the claim, with it starting to appear in Emoji search from the term "Stam," before becoming the only viewable emoji at "Stamm." Meanwhile, using the text "Stut" brings up emoji with closed eyes and angry expressions, known as "Confounded Face" and "Persevering Face."

STAMMA has contacted Apple about the emoji and requesting it be changed to no longer show the emoji at all. It has also requested members and supporters to report the issue to Apple as "Inappropriate emoji" and citing complaint case ID 101412774805.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,626member
    I have had a stutter since I was a kid. It took a lot of hard work to overcome it and even now at age 60 it occasionally grabs my by the throat. 
    That said,  STAMMA can go F themselves. This is much ado about NOTHING. I don’t find it in the least bit embarrassed by it. To put it bluntly STAMMA has bigger fish to fry than some stupid emoji. 
    edited July 6 winstoner71byronlMplsPmwhitebluefire1williamhpatchythepiratemaltzmobirddewme
  • Reply 2 of 45
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,252member
    Does stammer mean something else in the US?  I don’t even understand why anyone would think that emoji might be relevant to stammering.
    edited July 6 ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 45
    DAalseth said:
    I have had a stutter since I was a kid. It took a lot of hard work to overcome it and even now at age 60 it occasionally grabs my by the throat. 
    That said,  STAMMA can go F themselves. This is much ado about NOTHING. I don’t find it in the least bit embarrassed by it. To put it bluntly STAMMA has bigger fish to fry than some stupid emoji.
    And it still grabs me sometimes at age 50. I’ve often been asked if I could go back and live my life without stuttering, would I. The answer is always no. Stuttering is who I am, and it’s made me a kinder person to others who are much worse off than me. Agree with everything you said here.
    edited July 6 byronlMplsPmwhitebluefire1DAalsethwilliamhpatchythepiratemobirdmagman1979GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 45
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,152member
    I looked up ‘stammer’ in the apple dictionary and it actually says ‘stutter,’ but that’s not what I think of when I see the word. For me, stutter is a specific speech impediment/disorder while stammering makes me think of altered speech for other reasons.
    williamhpatchythepiratejohnfrombeyondbageljoeyllamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 45
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,679member
    MplsP said:
    I looked up ‘stammer’ in the apple dictionary and it actually says ‘stutter,’ but that’s not what I think of when I see the word. For me, stutter is a specific speech impediment/disorder while stammering makes me think of altered speech for other reasons.
    It is used to imply drunkenness. It also shows up if you type the word drunk in the emoji text box or the main text entry box. So it makes sense that the emoji got tied to stammer. Interestingly, it only shows up for stammer in the emoji search box, not the text entry box.
    patchythepiratejohnfrombeyondwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 45
    Stammer can be used to describe when people do a one time stutter because they're confused or nervous. While I get what this group is saying, they don't get to change the meaning of the word stammer. They don't now 'own' that word.
    mike1roundaboutnowentropysjohnfrombeyondwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 45
    gregoriusmgregoriusm Posts: 452member
    mike1 said:
    MplsP said:
    I looked up ‘stammer’ in the apple dictionary and it actually says ‘stutter,’ but that’s not what I think of when I see the word. For me, stutter is a specific speech impediment/disorder while stammering makes me think of altered speech for other reasons.
    It is used to imply drunkenness. It also shows up if you type the word drunk in the emoji text box or the main text entry box. So it makes sense that the emoji got tied to stammer. Interestingly, it only shows up for stammer in the emoji search box, not the text entry box.
    iOS 14.7 here and it does show up in the suggestions in the text entry box when I use it in the Apple Notes app, iMessage app, etc. for the word stammering as mentioned in the article.  
    edited July 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 45
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,679member
    mike1 said:
    MplsP said:
    I looked up ‘stammer’ in the apple dictionary and it actually says ‘stutter,’ but that’s not what I think of when I see the word. For me, stutter is a specific speech impediment/disorder while stammering makes me think of altered speech for other reasons.
    It is used to imply drunkenness. It also shows up if you type the word drunk in the emoji text box or the main text entry box. So it makes sense that the emoji got tied to stammer. Interestingly, it only shows up for stammer in the emoji search box, not the text entry box.
    iOS 14.7 here and it does show up in the suggestions in the text entry box when I use it in the Apple Notes app, iMessage app, etc. for the word stammering as mentioned in the article.  
    Hmm. Not for me on 14.6. In fact, with Notes or Mail I get no emoji suggestions. They only show up in the "search emoji" field.
    gregoriusmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 45
    technotechno Posts: 729member
  • Reply 10 of 45
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 537member
    crowley said:
    Does stammer mean something else in the US?  I don’t even understand why anyone would think that emoji might be relevant to stammering.
    In the US, stammering isn't strictly related to stuttering. It can be the "Uh, well, wait, but what if, no, um, never mind, hmm, although ..." speech pattern some people do while thinking. Or the similar "Uh, um, uh" with word fragments which people do when they're trying to talk and something derailed their train of thought before their mouth got the message to stop. Or the half-formed "What are you ...? Where is ...?" questions someone might ask when surrounded by a whirlwind of activity they know nothing about.

    In areas I'm familiar with in the US, it's considered more of a nervous habit, like bouncing your leg or chewing your nails, rather than a problem actually communicating.
    winstoner71llamaronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 45
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,441member
    I miss the days when people were tough and didn’t get offended by everything. It seems so long ago and when I compare the kids of today with my childhood, they make me feel like I grew up rough but as a kid I didn’t even know it, I was just living life and it was fun. We didn’t look for excuses to get offended.

    The sad part is Apple will most likely bow down to their demands. Companies are at the mercy of the vocal .01%

    Nintendo removed a half-second animation from a Smash Bros fighter because of the .01%.

    Sad story:

    I was shopping for Dr. Seuss books and settled for the expensive compilation that costed $18. Put it in my Amazon cart and forgot about it. About 3 days later some people complained that the books were racist and the stupid Dr. Seuss estate discontinued some books including one in the compilation. I looked in my cart and the book went from $18 to over $200!!

    Thanks offended millennials. Yeah, everything’s racist and offensive.
    entropysjohnfrombeyondJapheyllamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 45
    gregoriusmgregoriusm Posts: 452member
    mike1 said:
    mike1 said:
    MplsP said:
    I looked up ‘stammer’ in the apple dictionary and it actually says ‘stutter,’ but that’s not what I think of when I see the word. For me, stutter is a specific speech impediment/disorder while stammering makes me think of altered speech for other reasons.
    It is used to imply drunkenness. It also shows up if you type the word drunk in the emoji text box or the main text entry box. So it makes sense that the emoji got tied to stammer. Interestingly, it only shows up for stammer in the emoji search box, not the text entry box.
    iOS 14.7 here and it does show up in the suggestions in the text entry box when I use it in the Apple Notes app, iMessage app, etc. for the word stammering as mentioned in the article.  
    Hmm. Not for me on 14.6. In fact, with Notes or Mail I get no emoji suggestions. They only show up in the "search emoji" field.
    Have you verified that “Predictive is toggled ON. If not, toggle Predictive ON.”

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 45
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,679member
    mike1 said:
    mike1 said:
    MplsP said:
    I looked up ‘stammer’ in the apple dictionary and it actually says ‘stutter,’ but that’s not what I think of when I see the word. For me, stutter is a specific speech impediment/disorder while stammering makes me think of altered speech for other reasons.
    It is used to imply drunkenness. It also shows up if you type the word drunk in the emoji text box or the main text entry box. So it makes sense that the emoji got tied to stammer. Interestingly, it only shows up for stammer in the emoji search box, not the text entry box.
    iOS 14.7 here and it does show up in the suggestions in the text entry box when I use it in the Apple Notes app, iMessage app, etc. for the word stammering as mentioned in the article.  
    Hmm. Not for me on 14.6. In fact, with Notes or Mail I get no emoji suggestions. They only show up in the "search emoji" field.
    Have you verified that “Predictive is toggled ON. If not, toggle Predictive ON.”


    Just checked and it is. I get it in iMessage, but not the other apps. Never really noticed before as I tend not to use emojis in emails.
    gregoriusmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 45
    grbladegrblade Posts: 91member
    Do people in the UK really say "stammer" when they mean "stutter?"  Stammer in the US is just momentary word garbage that happens to everyone from time to time. Do alcoholics get offended when they see the same emoji when they type in "drunk?"
    edited July 6 johnfrombeyondBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 45
    grblade said:
    Do people in the UK really say "stammer" when they mean "stutter?"  Stammer in the US is just momentary word garbage that happens to everyone from time to time. Do alcoholics get offended when they see the same emoji when they type in "drunk?"
    I can’t speak for those in the UK but here in Ireland stammer and stutter are used interchangeably. I had a stammer/stutter in my earlier years and I find this emoji bears no relationship whatsoever to that experience. I can fully understand why some of those sufferers on the neighbouring island are offended. It implies that someone with a stammer or stutter is somehow like a drunk or dizzy person (as that’s what the emoji seems to convey). IMHO, of course. 
    ronn
  • Reply 16 of 45
    gregoriusmgregoriusm Posts: 452member
    mike1 said:
    mike1 said:
    mike1 said:
    MplsP said:
    I looked up ‘stammer’ in the apple dictionary and it actually says ‘stutter,’ but that’s not what I think of when I see the word. For me, stutter is a specific speech impediment/disorder while stammering makes me think of altered speech for other reasons.
    It is used to imply drunkenness. It also shows up if you type the word drunk in the emoji text box or the main text entry box. So it makes sense that the emoji got tied to stammer. Interestingly, it only shows up for stammer in the emoji search box, not the text entry box.
    iOS 14.7 here and it does show up in the suggestions in the text entry box when I use it in the Apple Notes app, iMessage app, etc. for the word stammering as mentioned in the article.  
    Hmm. Not for me on 14.6. In fact, with Notes or Mail I get no emoji suggestions. They only show up in the "search emoji" field.
    Have you verified that “Predictive is toggled ON. If not, toggle Predictive ON.”


    Just checked and it is. I get it in iMessage, but not the other apps. Never really noticed before as I tend not to use emojis in emails.
    That’s probably why I get it in Notes. Because I use emoji and iOS decided to add it to my predictive text. 
  • Reply 17 of 45
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,406member
    Hopefully Apple can turn this emoji off if a persons language is set to UK or Irish (or maybe anything commonwealth) English, and leave it for US English, since the meanings a re a bit different.  
    Beats
  • Reply 18 of 45
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,011member
    Actual purpose of this faux offense is to raise the profile of the charity.
    DAalsethmike1llamaFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 19 of 45
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 748member
    Beats said:
    I miss the days when people were tough and didn’t get offended by everything. It seems so long ago and when I compare the kids of today with my childhood, they make me feel like I grew up rough but as a kid I didn’t even know it, I was just living life and it was fun. We didn’t look for excuses to get offended.

    The sad part is Apple will most likely bow down to their demands. Companies are at the mercy of the vocal .01%

    Nintendo removed a half-second animation from a Smash Bros fighter because of the .01%.

    Sad story:

    I was shopping for Dr. Seuss books and settled for the expensive compilation that costed $18. Put it in my Amazon cart and forgot about it. About 3 days later some people complained that the books were racist and the stupid Dr. Seuss estate discontinued some books including one in the compilation. I looked in my cart and the book went from $18 to over $200!!

    Thanks offended millennials. Yeah, everything’s racist and offensive.
    100% agree with every word here. Too bad you didn’t pick up that book in time, you could have made a nice profit in a year or so. 
    Beats
  • Reply 20 of 45
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,020member
    To me a stammer was never a condition but a nervous reaction to shock or fear manifested as staccato-like speech or utterances, and not at all the same meaning as stutter. I know that a lot of people use the two words interchangeably.

    Not being a speech pathologist or lexicographer I have no idea if there is or isn't a difference in their medical definition. I still see and use them as different words with different meanings.

    Growing up I had a friend who had a bad stutter and was bullied mercilessly K-6. I got in a lot of fights over it and parents of the losers (multiple levels) their little angels were boys being boys and that my friend just needed to toughen up. We both did and a lot of people regretted it. Eventually things smoothed out. At some point he learned that if he sang, the stutter would abate. So he picked up a six-string... Oh wait that wasn't him. But he did join a small local band and had some improvement when not singing. He was a great guy.

    I don't know how entrenched is the concept of a stammer being a chronic speech impediment. If it is deeply so, maybe Apple should at least cull the words that bring up woozy face. But remove it, no.

    A lot of people want anything that offends them removed, sanctioned, whatever. I once worked with someone named Karen who was ahead of the curve, being the stereotypical 'Karen' before there was such a thing.

    Otherwise, anything that promotes kindness and decency is OK in my book. It seems to be in very short and diminishing supply on this side of the pond.
    sidricthevikingllamaFileMakerFeller
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