first_imgA council has raised eyebrows by adding the crying face smartphone emoji to residents’ online council tax statements.People living in the London borough of Lambeth were shocked to see the image of a character in floods of tears next the amount they must pay in council tax.The blunder, which the council blamed on a technical error, emerged when Lambeth resident Alice Jones, a writer, posted a picture of her council tax notice on Twitter.Alongside the text explaining that an instalment of £112 was due next month were three crying face emoji.The TaxPayers’ Alliance said the incident is “pushing the boundaries” of the “level of professionalism” residents should expect in communication from their local authority.Posting a screenshot of her online statement on Twitter, Ms Jones said she was “not sure about Lambeth’s use of emojis on my council tax bill”. I doubt if many families struggling to keep up with their ever-rising council tax bill would be able to see the funny side of itJohn O’Connell, TaxPayers’ Alliance Responding to the Lambeth council case, John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This will certainly raise eyebrows.”Taxpayers are entitled to expect a certain level of professionalism in their councils’ communication with them and this letter is certainly pushing the boundaries.”I doubt if many families struggling to keep up with their ever-rising council tax bill would be able to see the funny side of it.”The view that emoji are taking over is echoed by Jeremy Burge, founder of Emojipedia, a search engine for emoji. He said: “All the data shows that emoji use is growing. Bit by bit they are creeping into places where previously, they didn’t exist.” Not sure about Lambeth’s use of emojis on my council tax bill— Alice Jones (@alicevjones) December 13, 2016 Today Translations, a translation firm based in the City of London, is currently advertising for an “emoji translator/specialist”.The firm’s chief executive, Jurga Zilinskiene, said: “I believe that emojis could establish themselves as a language in their own right and take over other languages.”They are in our conscience, and help to articulate our feelings, which can sometimes be hard.” She added that the company had received hundreds of applications for the role from all over the world.Lambeth council could not confirm how many residents might have seen the emoji on their council tax statements.A spokesman said: “The emojis appeared on council tax notices when accessed on iPhones, due to the way certain software interprets the coding.  This was obviously an error and it has now been rectified.”What do you think? Join the debate by leaving a comment below.center_img Emoji, which have been described by experts as the fastest growing form of language in history, are increasingly being used for official purposes. Earlier this year, an internal Foreign Office report showed that British diplomats use the instant messaging service WhatsApp to discuss sensitive issues.It was reported that popular emoji used by UK diplomats were the shaking hands icon and the flag symbols when talking about other countries.There was also a suggestion that Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, is referred to by the use of a grey alien head emoji. In September, a High Court Judge handed down a ruling in a family court that used smiley face emojis to help explain a drawing in a difficult case involving domestic abuse, police investigations and extremism. The ruling by Mr Justice Peter Jackson was thought to be the first in English legal history to include an emoji as a point of evidence.Professor Vyv Evans, of Bangor University, recently conducted research on the use of emoji in the UK in association with TalkTalk.“Emoji is the fastest growing form of language in history based on its incredible adoption rate and speed of evolution,” said Professor Evans.“As a visual language emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor which took centuries to develop.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more