Binance came under fire after releasing a Twitter emoji with striking similarities to the Nazi swastika on Hitler’s birthday.
Binance Twitter Emoji Launch
In a series of events that would leave any company grappling to save face and avoid varying forms of reputational risk, the cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance has come under fire after it released a swastika-like Twitter emoji. Worse, the release happened, coincidentally, on Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
Twitter sometimes allows brands who use its platform to design their custom emojis to be included in hashtags as part of their promotions. It allows users to do this for an estimated $1 million. As part of promotional services for its business, Binance launched an emoji for several hashtags, including #Binance, #BNB, and #BitcoinButton.
The associated branded emoji for these hashtags share striking similarities with the Swastika, the emblem of the now abolished German Nazi party. The emoji depicted a block with Binance’s logo surrounded by four pixelated arms, each bent at a right angle, similar to the swastika symbol. It took no time before the semblance of the emoji to the Swastika was pointed out, with one user stating, “The new Binance logo is a literal swastika emoji.” Binance has since removed the emoji and replaced it with a new one that looks more like a coin.
An innocent mistake?
The Swastika has, since the end of the second world war and the consequent collapse of the German Nazi party continued to be one of the symbols associated with the German Nazi party. The horrifying events of world war II have made it a forbidden symbol, with its use often associated with extremists or Nazists, which explains why, reasonably, the release of the Binance Twitter emoji drew a lot of reactions.
The problem was further compounded by the fact that the release of the emoji coincided with Hitler’s birthday. While it is logical that a company of Binance status wouldn’t risk its reputation by directly referencing the Swastika, the release, however innocent, still drew a lot of negative attention.
The company reacted immediately by deleting the tweets announcing the emojis from its official company’s Twitter account and that of its CEO. A public apology was also issued nearly eight hours after the incident went viral.
Binance, following the apology, further informed its 8.4 million followers that the error was innocent, unintended, and embarrassing.
Crypto-critic Bennet Tomlin also shared his two cents, holding that the error might have been innocent considering that the people working on the logo may not have the cultural understanding to see how it could have been misinterpreted.
The Swastika was not always a representation of evil
Before its adoption by the German Nazi Party, the Swastika was used as a symbol of divinity and spirituality for many ancient East-Asian religions and remained a familiar sight in temples across countries like Japan.
Considering that the Binance emoji wasn’t tilted, it is possible that the designers drew inspiration from its East-Asian symbolism.