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What is the carrot emoji secretly code for on social media?

Answer: Vaccinations.

Shutterstock/5 second Studio
We’ve all probably used an emoji as code for a word that we didn’t want to actually type out at one point in our lives. Now it seems that anti-vaxxers have turned to this method to avoid social media censoring.

A BBC investigation earlier this month found that several social media groups sharing mis- and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines were using the carrot emoji instead of saying the word “vaccine.” That’s because social media companies enacted bans on misleading content about the virus and vaccines, and these bans are enforced by algorithms that scan the platform for violations.

The AIs are trained on text-based platforms though, which means that emojis usually slip past their nets. Users also reportedly used emojis of shot glasses in place of the word “shot.” One Facebook group that the BBC uncovered had more than 250,000 members. Facebook parent Meta removed these groups when the BBC alerted them to their presence.