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Windows 10’s emoji give the middle finger some diversity

The best part about emoji is that there’s one for almost any situation. Whether you’ve slipped in chocolate ice cream and are at the hospital, or your car fell into a volcano so you went surfing, those fun little characters say things we never dreamed we could put into words. When the Unicode committee announced the expansion of the emoji alphabet, there was one symbol that a lot of people thought had been needed for a long time. Now Windows 10 has added the famed emoji to their library of OS-supported symbols, along with the choice of skin tones that’s recently found its way onto mobile devices.

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Sorry, that wasn’t directed towards you. You might think the bird is a relatively new innovation — a modern gesture crafted by punk rockers or skate culture — but the one finger salute has actually been recognized as a symbol of disrespect since the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Many great philosophers have used the symbol as a form of debasement, or rejection of culture, from Diogenes of Sinope to Eminem of Detroit.

Some snooping in the technical preview files also revealed a more varied selection of skin tones will be available to Windows 10 users. Unlike iOS emojis, which default to yellow, the Windows emoji set will have a default grey skin, with the option to choose from five other skin tones.

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Microsoft has also changed the appearance of numerous traditional “smiley” emoji, mostly to better conform to their look in iOS and Android. For example, the so-called “confounded face” has been changed from a sheepish smirk to the more iconic (and anatomically impossible) M-shaped mouth.

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While the new emojis should be available with the final release of Windows 10, there is a built-in emoji keyboard for the desktop version you can use now with the older set to hold you over. Simply right click on the taskbar and select “Show touch keyboard button” and then click the keyboard symbol that appears in the lower right hand corner. The smiley face button will take you to a keyboard set with the standard set of emojis, as well as a library of emoticons.