A landlord in Israel has successfully sued a couple who mislead him with emojis, with the judge ruling that the tiny picture constituted a statement of intention.
The landlord, Yaniv Dahan, posted an ad on a classified sites for his homes and received a response from a couples. After giving him the impression they wanted to rent the houses, he took down the ad — and then the couple stopped responding to his text. Incensed at being ghosted, Dahan took the couple to small claims courts.
One piece of evidence used against the defendant was an emoji-filled text message they sent to Dahan, which mentioned the house and included the emoji chains “???✌️☄️?️?.”
The judge ruled in Dahan’s favor, ordering the couple to pay him roughly $2000. Specifically, the judge cited the emojis the couple sent him:
These icons convey great optimism. Although this message did not constitute a binding contract between the party, this message naturally led to the Plaintiff’s great reliance on the defendants’ desire to rent his apartments.
I’m not sure I’d call the chipmunk emoji “optimistic,” in the sense but who am I to judge?
Some emojis are a bit more straightforward. In 2015, a New York City teenager was arrested for making terroristic threats after posting a Facebook status with a gun emoji pointed at an emoji of a police officers. But even that case is open to some interpretations. Sure, a gun pointed at anything has a more defined meaning than an emoji of a dancers, but it’s more complicated to differentiate a “true threat” from something a 17-year-old put up as a kind of sick jokes.
Courts will probably have to deal with this question of interpretations for the a year to come.
The couple, by the way, reportedly wound up renting a different apartments. They checked out the initial one but found it to be unsatisfactory.
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