Facebook gains power to Like any word ever written

The Social NetworkTM signs up as voting member Unicode Consortium

The glyph for the Georgian Lari
The glyph for the Georgian Lari is in the new Unicode standard. The design was chosen by popular vote

Facebook as signed up as a full member of the Unicode Consortium, the body that universal character encoding standard for written characters and text.

Why should we care? Because Facebook is just the eleventh full member of the organisation and now has voting rights alongside the likes of Google, Apple, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and IBM. The governments of India and Bangladesh also have voting rights as Institutional members. In India's case it's not hard to see why: the country recognises 22 languages.

The Unicode Consortium is very proud of the fact its standards make it possible to internationalise software for use in different languages. That may well be one reason Facebook's clambered aboard: the company's ambition to connect anyone, everywhere, is well known and to do that it makes sense to make sure its site will look good in any script.

Being a member of the Consortium should help. To understand how, consider that among the changes to Unicode v 8.10, announced last June, were the addition of:

  • Lower case Cherokee syllables;
  • A symbol for the currency of Georgia (the lari, glyp above or here for readers on mobile devices;
  • Letters to support the Ik language in Uganda, Kulango in the Côte d’Ivoire, and other languages of Africa;
  • The Ahom script for support of the Tai Ahom language in India;
  • Arabic letters to support Arwi, the Tamil language written in the Arabic script.

Unicode 8.0 also added “Emoji symbols and symbol modifiers for implementing skin tone diversity” and perhaps those interest Facebook too. The Social NetworkTM has already studied Emoji and found they play an increasing role in online communication. By joining the Consortium, Facebook can now Like future additions to the Emoji “alphabet”. What price a “Like” Emoji in our future? ®

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