Microsoft has begun internal testing of a new custom emoji feature for its Microsoft Teams communications platform.Multiple sources revealed edge Microsoft employees learned about the surprising new feature after Pepe the Frog’s animated emoji, a meme with a troubled past, started showing up in reactions and messages on early builds of Microsoft Teams.
The Pepe the Frog emote is now widely available on Discord servers and the Amazon Twitch streaming platform as a light-hearted reaction, joining other custom emoticons that are not currently available in Microsoft Teams. We’ve learned that Microsoft is testing the feature of custom emojis in an early so-called “dogfood” version of Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams currently supports GIFs through the Giphy service, but these are separate from the emoji panel that appears in video calls and chat messages on the service. If Microsoft decides to roll out this custom emoji feature to all Teams users, it doesn’t mean that the Pepe the Frog memes preset will be released, just the ability to add custom emojis. This will be approved by IT admins and allow new custom emojis — just like how Discord and Slack admins manage it.
The addition of Pepe the Frog to internal builds of Microsoft Teams surprised some employees because of the fraught history of this particular meme. While Pepe the Frog is widely used today, years ago the cartoon frog was also co-opted by white supremacists.Anti-Defamation League (ADL) adds Pepe the Frog to its alliance Hate Symbol Database In 2016, the advocacy group partnered with Pepe creator Matt Furie to support the “#SavePepe movement to reclaim this symbol from those with hateful intentions.”
Now, Pepe is no longer commonly used as a hate symbol in Twitch chat, but instead as a reaction meme. “Because many Pepe the Frog memes are not bigoted in nature, it is important to examine the use of memes only in context,” the ADL said. “The fact that a Pepe meme is posted does not mean that someone is a racist or a white supremacist.” Pepe’s life, death and rebirth in Record feel good man.
Microsoft has not officially announced custom emojis for Microsoft Teams, and the feature is still in the development stage Very Early testing.Microsoft did admit that the highly anticipated feature has Add to to-do list Added seven months ago. Given that custom emojis have been available in competing platforms like Slack and Discord for years, it’s likely that they will reach all Microsoft Teams users at some point this year.
We reached out to Microsoft for comment, but the company did not respond promptly.