Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered a crackdown on gay emoji in Russia.
Apple introduced the LGBT-friendly emoji as part of its iOS 8.3 update in April, including same-sex couples and parents.
According to Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor, President Putin requested an investigation into the emoji by a pro-Kremlin group, concerned that they contradict the country’s legal ban on ‘gay propaganda’.
According to Vocativ, Deputy Head of Roskomnadzor, Maxim Ksenzov Mikhael Marchenko, says that the seemingly harmless emoji are in fact part of ‘the spread on social media of untraditional sexual relations among minors’ that ‘denies family values’.
The government body responsible for policing Russian media has reportedly written to the Young Guard of Russia - the youth arm of the United Russia political party - in order to request that they investigate the emojis.
This isn’t the first time that Russia has put up opposition to LGBT issues in the tech world. When Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay, some Russian politicians stated that he should be barred from entering the country.
Bizarrely, a member of the Russian government considered U2’s Song of Innocence album, which was famously given away for free on iTunes, to be gay propaganda and requested an investigation. The album cover featured the band’s drummer, Larry Mullen Jnr, shirtless and hugging his 18-year-old son.
(Image credit: Apple)