A Canadian judge has ruled that the widely used thumbs up emoji can affirm that a person is legally entering into a contract.
According to a New York Times report, Judge TJ Keene said the decision reflects a “new reality in Canadian society” as more people use emoji to express themselves in all sorts of situations, including business.
The case sought to determine whether a farmer had agreed to sell tons of flax to a grain buyer in 2021. According to the report, the buyer sent the purchase contract to the farmer and wrote “Please confirm the flax contract.”
Receiving the thumbs up emoji in response, he understood that the farmer “was accepting the contract” and that the emoji was “his way” of accepting it. The farmer, on the other hand, said the emoji was meant to confirm that he “received the flax contract.”
The judge noted that the farmer and the buyer had had a long-standing business relationship and that the farmer had responded to previous sales agreements with texts such as “looks good,” “okay” or “yes.” In the decision, Judge Keene referred to dictionary.com’s definition of the thumbs-up emoji: “used to express assent, approval, or encouragement in digital communications, especially in Western cultures.”
Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, told the Times that despite the decision, the meaning of the thumbs-up emoji remains an open question on a case-by-case basis. The professor pointed out that some young people may use the emoji in a sarcastic or false way, while others may use it to confirm that they received a message. The gesture may also be offensive in some Middle Eastern countries, he said. The case reminds “people that using the thumbs up emoji can have serious legal consequences,” Goldman added.
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This post Canada court finds 👍 emoji valid as contract agreement: Report
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