People are using the red flag emoji to signal warning signs about people and relationships on social media

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People are using the red flag emoji to signal warning signs about people and relationships on social media
Twitter users are using the red flag emoji to talk about warning signs in people. jopstock
  • People are using the red flag emoji to discuss warning signs in people and relationships.
  • The emoji has flooded Twitter as people attach it to hypothetical statements or actions.

The red flag emoji has flooded Twitter this month as people use it to signal what they perceive as warning signs in a relationship, friendship, or personality. The hashtag #redflags was trending on Twitter on Wednesday.

People are attaching the emojis to hypothetical statements from partners, friends, employers, or others, that could signal a "red flag," echoing the idiomatic expression of the same name that people use to describe warning signs in everything from people to relationships to homes. According to data provided by Twitter, the use of the red flag emoji has grown 455% on the platform in the last week, and on Tuesday it was used in 1.5 million tweets globally.

That could include phrases like "sorry I fell asleep goodmorning though," as one tweet reads, seemingly referencing someone who falls off of a texting conversation late at night.

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The standard emoji, a simple red flag, is called "triangular flag on post" by Unicode, the non-profit that standardizes text, punctuation, and emoji appearance across platforms. Colloquially, it's most recognizable as the "red flag emoji."

Some tweets associated with the meme also judge people's taste vis-à-vis cultural icons like Beyoncé or films like "Shrek."

Other tweets take a more comedic or self-deprecating approach, saying that certain things that people are into - like the Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) series Fire Emblem - is a red flag.

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By Wednesday, the red flag meme on Twitter had reached a critical mass, with brands hopping on the bandwagon as well. The official account for the Olympics tweeted the phrase "sport is overrated," accompanied by a flood of red flags, while the official Twitter account (@Twitter) posted "I'm not on Twitter" as a red flag.

Red flags have also popped up on other social media platforms like TikTok as well, although not quite to the same degree as the saturation on Twitter.

A red flag trend circulated on TikTok in September, partially associated with what seems to be a mashup of Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" and Radiohead's "Creep," uploaded to TikTok under the sound name "male manipulator mashup." The trend, however, wasn't strongly associated with the red flag emoji, but instead was fixated on self-identified "red flags" in users' own rooms.

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@shext_in_the_city

My room DECKED out hella

♬ male manipulator mashup - hannah

Now, it seems that the red flag meme may be reaching a point of saturation, with some people tweeting about how they're planning to mute the emoji so as to avoid it on Twitter. Others expressed worry about the kinds of content that people were posting as part of the meme.

"These red flags a bit personal," Twitter user @Muhasaaa said in a tweet that has over 193,000 likes. "Y'all good??"

Read more stories from Insider's Digital Culture desk.

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