The mysterious "eye in speech bubble" emoji

While iOS 9.1 was still in beta testing, some testers noticed a new emoji that looks like an eye in the middle of a speech bubble. In fact, that's what Apple called it -- "eye-in-speech-bubble" -- and a lot of people were wondering what the heck it was all about. Thanks to designer Erik Vreland, who used Apple's text-to-speech capabilities on the emoji, we now know that it's the symbol of an anti-bullying campaign called "I Am A Witness" that launched today.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council

The force behind the campaign is The Ad Council, that group that brings you public service ads on TV and radio. They realized that bullying online is huge, with an estimated 1/4 of all children being subjected to continued online harassment. The emoji is at the center of the campaign that's designed to break the cycle of bullying online. Apple (with iOS and OS X) and Google (Android and Chrome OS) are both partners with The Ad Council in the campaign.

The idea? Quite simple. Don't just stand by when you see someone bullying another person on line. Let them know that you don't think it's acceptable, and you can do that by using the eye. Send someone who is being bullied the eye to show them that you realize what's going on, that you don't think it's right, and that you're with them. Send it to a bully to let them know that you're watching what's going on, and you don't approve.

It's on your iOS 9.1 keyboard. Help stop cyber-bullying.