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You don’t need to freak out about the latest WhatsApp-crashing bug

Published May 7th, 2018 11:34PM EDT
WhatsApp Emoji Crashes App
Image: Gombert/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

Every once in a while, smartphone users discover ways of crashing their phones, or the phones of their friends, that involve sending out a particular string of characters, or an emoji.

The newest such endeavor affects Android users of Facebook’s popular chat app WhatsApp. A single emoji is enough to crash the app and other apps where you’d see it. But the bug is harmless, and it needs human interaction to be triggered.

Details on Android Police, the emoji that can crash WhatsApp shows a black dot. But you need to tap it to enable the bug.

Image source: Android Police

As soon as you do, WhatsApp will become unresponsive, and you’ll have to manually quit the app and reopen it. However, it won’t cause additional problems. The phone should not freeze or reboot, and you won’t lose any data.

What happens is that the message is actually made of about two thousand invisible characters that used by Unicode to specify how the text should be laid out, whether right-to-left or left-to-right.

The following video explains exactly what’s going on with that black point:

As Android Police points out, any emoji arranged in a similar matter would freeze WhatsApp — again, you need to touch the emoji to “enable” it. However, the black dot one looks the scariest. It also looks like a button that you might want to press.

It’s likely Google will fix this particular bug in a future Android release.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.