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Twitter's new gun emoji.

Twitter is rolling out the latest updates to its emoji and one change is quite notable: its pistol icon is now that of a water gun, as Emojipedia noticed.

Why it matters: In 2016, Apple was the first vendor to make this change, which was widely interpreted as a political statement against gun violence. In the last several months, WhatsApp and Samsung have followed suit, so Twitter is making the change to be consistent with these vendors, a spokesperson tells Axios.

The change will help mitigate misunderstandings when a user on one platform sends a water gun emoji and it appears as a pistol for users on a different one, and vice versa.

Still: Politics, and especially sensitivity to the recent gun control debate in the U.S., will likely begin to influence companies' tools and designs.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
24 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
1 hour ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.