EMOJIS – A NEW WAY OF COMMUNICATION

Nowadays it is almost possible to have an entire conversation with someone using Emojis. The development in technology and the way we communicate with each other has seen a dramatic shift from purely using text as a form of communication to pictures/symbols/Emojis.

Many of us have for instance used that bright red angry face to emphasize our emotional state of mind in a situation through a message to someone else. There are an abundance of faces and pictures to choose from which assist in getting a message across with more emotion than was every achievable before.

Recently some international courts have had to preside over hearings involving text messages displaying Emojis of a violent nature such as bombs and guns which were interpreted as a possible indication of impending violence against someone else and this text message very nearly lead to the conviction of the 17 year old author.

For all the emoji loving South Africans, there is a word of caution when using Emojis to express yourself in a message. In accordance with section 14 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 (ECTA) – a data message can in certain circumstances be admitted into evidence through which a court would be able to draw an inference as to the state of mind of someone when the message was sent.

Although the South African courts have not yet had to make a ruling under these circumstances, it is certainly advised that any text message which is sent does not allow for inferences to be drawn therefrom. Once again the reality is that any form of written communication can potentially be used against you, and it is best to be safe rather than sorry.

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