Think twice before using your next emoji. It could be used against you in a court of law.
That’s what one Israeli couple discovered after a real estate lawsuit ended in them having to pay out $2,200 for an apartment they never even rented.
A landlord took the couple to court, claiming their communication led him to believe the couple was going to rent the apartment. The landlord and couple had exchanged texts for several days.
After their communication had convinced him, the landlord took down his ad for the apartment. Then the prospective tenants went silent—they “ghosted” him. The landlord wasn't going to stand there and just allow himself to get ghosted, though; he sued them—and won.
The judge sided with the landlord, in part because of the emojis that were used in this message: “Good morning 😊 interested in the house 💃🏼 👯 ✌ 🎐 🐿 🍾 just need to discuss the details … When's a good time for you?”
The judge’s explanation for his ruling was hilarious.
“The [emoji laden] text message sent by Defendant 2 on June 5, 2016, was accompanied by quite a few symbols, as mentioned. These included a ‘smiley’, a bottle of champagne, dancing figures and more. These icons convey great optimism. Although this message did not constitute a binding contract between the parties, this message naturally led to the Plaintiff’s great reliance on the defendants’ desire to rent his apartment.”
Mashable spoke with American attorney and social media law expert Bradley Shear, and Shear said he does not expect the same ruling would play out in an American court.
"There's all these different variations, and so what one emoji may mean to one person may mean something slightly different to another," Shear said.
As odd as this case may seem, emojis are close to becoming a universal language today—even your mom uses them. Expect to see more cases that interpret the intent and meaning of emojis popping up in the future.