Emojis are icons used to express people’s feelings on internet based chat systems, with a continuously growing power, thanks to Facebook,which recently added five new emojis to the repertoire in addition to the like button for us to express our opinions regarding a post. Nowadays emojis are at the core of understanding one another within chat systems.

However, what were authorities to think if somebody used a particular combination of emojis embedded on a post, such as a knife, a gun and a bomb with the following message: “Meet me in the library Tuesday”?

The police of Fairfax, Virginia were alerted and arrested the author of the message, a 12-year old girl.

For her mistake, she is now facing charges and the police are investigating to see precisely how dangerous the messages with emojis can be. Attorneys are arguing on whether to bring emojis as evidence in thecourt of law or not, but experts state that the most intricate problem is finding out what the girl’s intent was when she sent the incriminating combination of emojis.

Now, inquiries are made as to what significance each and every emoji has.

Is a winkie face ironic, flirtatious or menacing? From this perspective, what does an angry face mean? What if you sent it to somebody? By that, would you actually threat to harm that person? Or the person sending it would just be expressing his or her feelings?

The investigation on the 12-year old girl began on Dec. 14when a police officer saw a menacing picture posted on Instagram leading to the Sydney Lanier Middle School.

Police interviewed the students and eventually managed to find the IP of the person who had posted it. It led to the little girl who admitted to having posed it, however under a different student’s name. She was charged with threatening and computer harassment, however a Fairfax County spokesman stated that the threat was not credible.

What to make of it?

The girl was supposed to be brought to court by the end of the month, nevertheless police have not yet found a motive for her presumed threat.

The girl’s mother stated that she had posted the message as a response to having been bullied at school. Her mother insists on her innocence, but the prosecutors and the judge will have to come to a decision on whether the emojis in her post were meant as a threat or simply posted to express the girl’s anger.

Many other similar cases occurred in the past, such as the ones of kids who wrote threatening messages against the police. However, they were not taken into consideration as threats but as intimidating messages such as “I’m tough,” messages with no physically violent meaning whatsoever. Other ones involved death threats allegedly made by a rap artist who posted graphically violent lyrics on Facebook, later on arguing the content was fictitious.

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