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What do those red flags on Twitter really mean?

A new Twitter trend includes people sharing red flags again and again and again. Here’s what it means

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Illustration by Alex Cochran

Not understanding Twitter’s red flag trend? 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

The trend started with people posting something that’s a bit of “red flag” warning and then adding a number of red flags emojis right after it. So, the meme started out pretty literal.

Then social media turned the trend on its ear. And brands have even jumped in on the trend, which often indicates it is becoming too popular and will soon die down. Once politicians jump on the red flag emoji trend, well, it’s over.

Per CNET, Twitter said it has seen a 455% increase in tweets using the emoji over the last week. In fact, there were 1.5 million red flag emoji tweets on Tuesday across the world.

So how did the trend start? According to The Mary Sue, the trend began when Black Twitter users shared some of the red flags they encountered in the dating world, like someone being slow to text back.

But the trend evolved into something more ... general. People wrapped sports opinions, pop culture and political issues into their discussions along with the red flags. Some of their posts are jokes. Here are some other great uses of the emoji trend as seen on social media.

One final note — my editor used to add the red flag emoji to indicate there were questions in my stories. So, excuse me while I avoid Twitter out of fear of reliving those memories.