Twitter is full of warnings this week. In a new trend on the platform, users are tweeting red flag emojis to highlight opinions and behavior that seem to them to be, well, red flags.
The platform says that tweets using emoji in the US have seen a 455% increase over the past week. Tuesday saw 1.5 million red flag emoji tweets globally.
From alerting people to potential date-worrying behavior, to brands trying to capitalize on the trend, here’s a rundown on the rows of red flags filling your timeline.
What do red flags mean?
Outside of Twitter, the red flag phrase is used as a warning. Merriam-Webster defines red flags A “warning sign or sign,” or “something that indicates or draws attention to a problem, danger, or irregularity.” This dictionary points to the first use of red flag as a noun before 1748.
Thanks to the red flag emoji, Twitter users can punctuate a tweet with just the symbol, or even an entire line of them to show something is in trouble.
How did the trend start?
According to Mary SueThe trend started this week among black Twitter users who were talking red flags in dating. Tweets include things like someone who is always online but is slow to text back; Someone is saying that they are still friends with their ex, or “going all day without talking to me.” A tweet calling the latter is one of the top retweeted tweets of the trend, having been retweeted over 28,000 times so far.
Although not always, many tweets are formatted as a quote followed by a flag.
What are people warning each other about?
In short, everything. People are tweeting about sports, food, movies, music, politics etc which they find problematic. Not all tweets are serious, many of them are jokes.
One Twitter user tweeted, “My favorite movie is Fight Club.”
Another tweeted, “My team is the Dallas Cowboys.”
Celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi tweeted that the red flag for her would be someone saying, “I don’t like Indian food.”
From sports teams to restaurants, brands are also trending, with the PGA Tour flagging, “Golf is not a real sport.”