Mysterious face emoji trend used as fundraiser for Black Lives Matter campaigns

Adam Smith
Credit: itiseyemoutheye

A mysterious viral trend where users on twitter would add three emojis – an eye, a mouth, and another eye – has been used to give exposure to Black Lives Matter campaigns.

The emojis were added to by users to their Twitter username, with no explanation as to the cause.

A Twitter account and corresponding website called “it is what it is” (@itiseyemoutheye) was also launched.

The website was originally a placeholder, but has now been replaced by a message from the founders.

A group of people, including a number of people in the tech industry, added the emojis to their usernames as part of a TikTok trend, and added people who did so into a group chat.

The trend is used to signify embarrassing or cringeworthy content.

That group chat expanded, as more people were intrigued by the trend, and the founders "thought about how to make use of the hype cycle we’d stumbled upon".

“We didn’t have to think too hard: in this moment, there’s pretty much no greater issue to amplify than the systemic racism and anti-Blackness much of the world is only beginning to wake up to. We’re excited that we could use our newfound platform to drive action towards a few causes that are doing important work towards racial justice” a statement on the website reads.

The website links to three fundraising organisations. These are the Loveland Foundation, an organisation which describes itself as providing “opportunity and healing to communities of colour … through fellowships, residency programs, listening tours,” as well as the Innocence Project which aims to “free innocent people and transform the legal system” according to its website.

The third organisation is the Okra Project, which supports Black Trans people by “bringing home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources.”

“It is what it is” says it has raised over $65,000 in donations for these projects.

While its meaning was obscured, the website gained notoriety for its perculiar URL. Although it appeared to be a random series of letters, it actually corresponds to an emoji domain name – typing in the three emojis and the ending “.fm” will bring up the website.

Emoji domain names have been accessible since 2001, but are rarely used as many websites only accept only ASCII characters (made up of 128 symbols in the character set) and as such Unicode (the language which allows emoji) has to be translated.

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