6th July 2021
Hundreds of you have contacted us to tell us that a 'woozy face' emoji automatically appears on iPhones and iPads when typing the word 'stammering' into messages.
The emoji features a yellow face with a crumpled mouth and a cockeyed expression, and the WhatsApp emoji also features a tongue hanging out.
Members have inundated us about the issue:
"This comes up on my phone when I type stammering! This is ableist, as sometimes people who stammer make facial expressions when experiencing a block, and this almost mimics that. I hope Apple realise this and apologise." Ellie
"It has appeared on all apps that I have tried including Facebook, my emails, WhatsApp and my iMessages. I am horrified and hope that this can be sorted." Kristina
Sue said, "What would disabled people think if a wheelchair emoji popped up every time?!"
One member, whose child has an iPhone, was particularly worried about the impact it could have on how they view their father.
STAMMA CEO Jane Powell said in a press release, "This is demeaning and damaging. Stammering is how some people talk. Treating it as a joke is stigmatising. It can leave people embarrassed about how they sound, bullied and ashamed which can affect their mental health, careers and relationships."
It isn't clear why this is taking place, as it doesn't affect every iPhone or Apple device, but members have reported it on the iPhone 5s, 7, SE, 11, XR, 12 Pro Max and on iPads.
We have contacted Apple and urged them to investigate their algorithms and stop this highly offensive feature from occurring on any of their devices.
Has it happened to you?
Check your Apple phones and devices. If you find this occurring you can register feedback on the Apple website. Select the relevant hardware product, and put "Inappropriate emoji" in the subject line and select "Other" under Feedback Type. In the message, please cite complaint case ID 101412774805.
Update: 8th July
Since publishing our press release, the story's gaining traction, with many news outlets picking up on it: 'UK stammer charity slams Apple over 'ableist' and 'demeaning' emoji search' (imore.com, to name but one). Over on social media, friends from overseas have been finding the same issue happens with iPhones in Sweden and Spain when typing in their word for stammering. Watch this space...