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Windows Central
Windows Central
Sean Endicott

Controversial Pepe the Frog meme helped discover an upcoming Microsoft Teams feature

Microsoft Teams web client on Edge.

What you need to know

  • Custom emoji support appears to be on the way to Microsoft Teams.
  • An animated Pepe the Frog emoji was spotted within several internal Microsoft Teams chats, according to a recent report.
  • While there's no official word that custom emoji support is on the way to Teams, it is a highly requested feature and Microsoft added the feature to its backlog last year.

Microsoft Teams may soon get a feature that's been on Slack and Discord for years. Microsoft's communication platform looks like it will finally support custom emojis. A report by The Verge shares that internal Microsoft chats on Teams have shown a custom animated emoji of Pepe the Frog. That specific character has a past that I'll touch on below, but first I'll focus on custom emoji support in general.

Several sources told The Verge about custom emojis appearing in chats. A similar feature has been available on other communication platforms for years, so it's nice to see Microsoft play catch up. The current testing of the custom emoji feature is in the "dogfood" versions of Teams, according to The Verge. Dogfooding is a common practice for software development in which a company tests features itself in everyday usage before rolling features out to alpha and beta testers.

It's already possible to share emojis and GIFs within Microsoft Teams, but the emojis are somewhat limited and GIFs are through Giphy. The addition of custom emoji support would add a new layer of communication and give people a chance to reply with personalized flair. Of course, there needs to be some oversight to prevent inappropriate emojis from popping up. The feature will reportedly require IT admin approval to add a custom emoji.

A long time coming

Slack already allows you to add custom emojis. (Image credit: Future)

Since custom emojis are already supported on rival platforms, many have wanted them on Teams for a while. A Microsoft employee named Jason S. confirmed that the ability to import custom emoji into Teams was added to the company's backlog seven months ago. Since then, several comments have followed up on that feedback page asking for custom emoji support to roll out.

We use Slack at Future (the parent company of Windows Central). There are loads of custom emojis in our channels, including people's faces and inside jokes. They're an easy way to add a bit of humor to a day filled with hundreds of messages. It would be nice to see similar functionality make its way to Microsoft Teams.

Who is Pepe the Frog

The Pepe the Frog meme has a strange history that's quite controversial. Depending on who you ask, Pepe the Frog is either a symbol of love, a symbol of hate, or just a playful meme. Its definition also changes over time as usage of the meme changes.

Insider Tech has an extensive video (shown above) that breaks down the origin and evolution of Pepe the Frog. That video is now four years old, but it serves as a good recap for the meme and its odd history.

Without full context of the chats that included Pepe the Frog within Microsoft Teams, it's not possible to say with 100% certainty how they were intended. But by all accounts, it seems the famed frog was shared with playful intent.

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