Generation Z workers are calling for an end to the “thumbs up” emoji being used in the workplace, arguing that it is “offensive,” “hostile,” and “super rude.”
Gen-Z, also known as “Zoomers,” includes everyone who was born between 1997 and 2012.
Workers from this younger generation are complaining that older people are making them feel uncomfortable by using the “thumbs up” emoji in communications.
They argue that the symbol is “passive-aggressive.”
The conflict was described in a popular thread on Reddit where Zoomers relayed how they were confused and offended by the use of the emoji at work.
“For younger people, the thumbs-up emoji is used to be really passive-aggressive,” explained a Redditor.
“It’s super rude if someone just sends you a thumbs up,” the 24-year-old explained.
“So I also had a weird time adjusting because my workplace is the same.”
“No one my age in the office does it, but the Gen X people always do it,” said another young contributor to the thread.
“Took me a bit to adjust and get [it] out of my head that it means they’re mad at me.”
A 25-year-old social worker said the thumbs up could appear dismissive to younger people.
“We’re people and we have words to use,” said Kim Law.
“If I took the time out to write a thoughtful message then you shouldn’t be responding with the bare minimum.
“Fix it and write something real back.”
Part of the misunderstanding comes from how younger people use the emoji.
“I only use it sarcastically, though sometimes I’m not even sure if the irony comes across,” said 24-year-old Barry Kennedy to the New York Post.
A TikTok user shared some helpful tips for millennials – people born between 1981 and 1996 – who use emojis when texting, including which ones they should never send.
In the video, Scarlett (pictured) disclosed that she is a 30-year-old college student living in the dorms with predominantly Gen Z students.
“The following emojis don’t mean what I thought they mean,” Scarlett said in the video.
She explains that she was stunned to learn that the “thumbs up” emoji is now considered “offensive” by younger people.
“This is apparently very passive-aggressive these days,” she said, pointing at the “thumbs up” emoji.
“So if you get this, be insulted immediately,” she added, jokingly.
She then addressed several other emojis, such as the teary-eyed emoji, which “for some godforsaken reason either means innocent or horny,” according to Scarlett.
Business consultant Sue Ellson told the Daily Mail that people should limit their use of the “thumbs up” emoji to personal interactions and avoid them in business.
She also advised, with a straight face, that people should ask other workers if they’re comfortable with the emoji use in order to prevent offending them.
A similar battle arose around the use of the “crying laughing” emoji, which was declared “uncool” by the younger generation.