Instagram has launched a surprise crackdown on the symbol for an eggplant, or aubergine, which the Guardian can reveal is employed by some users to represent a penis when posting a message with their pictures.
The eggplant has been blocked from Instagram’s newly unveiled function to search for images by emoji.
The illustrations for the banana and the peach remain unaffected.
Earlier this week, an investigation by Buzzfeed revealed that while the search would provide results for users who type in the gun, syringe and corncob emoji, a search for the eggplant results in “no tags found”.
The eggplant can still be used in photo captions and provides results when used in the “people” search. Some enterprising Instagram users have also started using the banana to direct users to images of the eggplant emoji.
Instagram confirmed that the eggplant was blocked because it violated their community guidelines, Buzzfeed reported. The Facebook-owned company confirmed this to the Guardian, but did not respond to a question about the other sexualized produce.
American English speakers are the most popular users of the eggplant emoji, according to a study released last week. There is also high demand for the taco emoji – though it is not clear whether that is out of love for the food or in homage to the vagina, which is much more difficult to depict using currently available emoji.
For those mobile phone users looking for a more explicit emoji experience, there is an app called Flirtmoji – which includes images of anatomically correct sex dolls, a suggestively scarred back and other items you can find at your neighborhood sex shop or with a XXX-rated online search.
It also includes a taco.
This article was written by Amanda Holpuch in New York, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 29th April 2015 18.38 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010