Press release -
Apple Devices Link 'Woozy Face' Emoji to Stammering
STAMMA, the British Stammering Association, have been contacted by hundreds of members who have found that a ‘woozy face’ 🥴 emoji automatically appears on their iPhone or iPad when typing in the word ‘stammering’ into messages.
The Emoji features a yellow face with a crumpled mouth with eyes askew, and the WhatsApp emoji also features a tongue hanging out.
CEO Jane Powell said, "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."
Up to 8% of children stammer at some point and STAMMA's polling indicates that around 3% of adults believe they stammer. Members have inundated STAMMA about the issue:
"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
“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 isn’t clear why this is taking place, as it does not 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.
Sue wrote, “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 have contacted Apple and urged them to investigate their algorithms and stop this highly offensive feature from occurring on any of their devices.
They urge people to check their Apple phones and devices and if they find this occurring, register feedback on the Apple website at apple.com/feedback. 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.
Research suggests that 8% of people will stammer at some point in their lives with up to 3% of UK adults describing themselves as currently having a stammer. The British Stammering Association seeks to create a society where people who stammer can fulfill their potential and enjoy respect and consideration. The charity offers support, information, advice and resources to those who stammer and their families as well as educators, employers and speech and language therapists. Founded in 1978, The British Stammering Association began trading as Stamma in 2019. For more information visit Stamma.org. Registered Charity Numbers 1089967 / SC038866.