The "OK" hand sign, which is also a popular emoji, has joined the list of audio symbols after being appropriated by extremist groups. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the United States organization that monitors hate crimes, the gesture that forms a circle between index and thumb has been used as an expression of "white supremacy."
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Created in 2000 to help people recognize signs of extremism, the ADL list currently has over 200 items, including the Ku Klux Klan pan and flaming cross. The OK emoji, so far employed as a sign of approval or that everything is fine, has been incorporated into the list after being used by extreme right-wing individuals in insulting and offensive online messages.
'OK' emoji enters audio symbol list Photo: Playback / Emoji
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It all started with a hoax planned by 4Chan forum users in 2017. The joke was meant to ridicule reporters by convincing them that OK's gesture was actually a symbol of white supremacist power. The prank writers' argument would be that, in the hand that makes the sign, the three straight fingers form the letter "W" (white), while the closed thumb and forefinger symbolize the letter "P" (power).
Although absurd, the joke was so successful and widespread by the far right that many now adopted the OK sign as a means of identification. The perpetrator of the Christchurch, New Zealand massacre, accused of killing 51 people in March this year, made the gesture when he was presented to court. In social networks, in turn, it is common to see extremists posting photos in which they reproduce the symbol with their hands.
However, the ADL points out that, for the most part, the gesture used in its traditional sense indicates approval or signal that all is well. Therefore, the organization recommends taking "special care not to jump to conclusions about the intent of someone who used the gesture."
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