On Thursday, social media company Twitter announced that it had launched emojis representing the Milk Tea Alliance, in support of an online movement that brings together pro-democracy activists across the East. and Southeast Asia.
Emojis have a clipping on a three-brown background, which corresponds to the colors of milk tea in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and now automatically appear in any tweet that has a hashtag in the language. English, Thai, Korean and many more Asian languages.
“To celebrate #MilkTeaAlliance’s one-year anniversary, we designed an emoji featuring three different milk tea colors from regions where the Alliance first established online,” the social media company said. festival tweeted from Its Twitter Public Policy account.
The coalition was formed last year in a social media dispute between Chinese nationalists and Thai actors Vachirawit Chivaaree and Weeraya Sukaram, who have been criticized for their posts. posted on social media describing Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries. Fierce online controversies quickly reached the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok, whose unwilling statements about the controversy only intensified the battle.
The moniker of the Milk Tea Alliance was quickly adopted by activists in Hong Kong, then emerged after months of pro-democracy protests against the Chinese government’s encroachment power and in Thailand, where one The youth-led protest movement took to the streets halfway. 2020, seeks constitutional changes and curb the power of the country’s monarchy.
When protests broke out in Myanmar on February 1 this year, the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance also started to become trending in that country, due to a flight by Myanmar netizens on Twitter after the military regime. temporary. Turn off access to FacebookThe country’s most popular social network.
“We’ve seen over 11 million #MilkTeaAlliance-tagged Tweets in the past year,” Twitter said in its noticeThis has made hashtags a trend in Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan.
The Milk Tea Coalition has since consolidated itself as a loose review organization for pro-democracy activists across Asia, united by general opposition to authoritarianism and the communist government. Chinese real estate in particular.
In addition to serving as a much-needed source of transnational solidarity for those who fight for democratic reform in repressed countries, it has also helped to create a protest movement with lax networks. Share a variety of symbols and common tactics. These range from using a three-finger salute (taken from the The Hunger Games series) to using hardhats and flash-mobs.
Like the creation of separate icons for the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, Twitter’s support for the Milk Tea Alliance represents a convenient fit between principle and profit.
Given that the company is blocked in China, it won’t lose much financially if it comes out in favor of the protesters – indeed, it could profit from adopting additional platforms in Europe. Asia – while its move helped push back claims that social media played a key role in facilitating the proliferation of dictatorships from the Philippines, Brazil to the United States.
As James Buchanan, a lecturer at Bangkok’s Mahidol International University, told Reuters“Twitter has a lot of benefits by attracting young people in Asian markets that are open to them.”
That said, if emojis help to publicize the struggles of those who fight for democratic and liberal reforms across Asia, then corporate backing – regardless of mixed motives. or secretly – will certainly be warmly welcomed.