Why Red Flags Are Taking Over Your Social Media Feeds

The red flag emoji is everywhere. Here's why.

A red flag waving on a beach.

Everyone from Dolly Parton to Burger King has partaking in a new meme that’s likely been causing your social feeds to be littered with the tiny scarlet flags for the past week. It’s a trend that popped up out of nowhere but took off like wildfire and is now a ubiquitous, almost tired meme.

While we don’t know for certain who spearheaded it, Know Your Meme, the website that documents various Internet memes, viral videos, catchphrases and more, points to a tweet posted on September 23, 2021 by user @Jordan773 who tweeted, “Black women with all white friends?” followed by a slew of red flag emojis. Since then, users have been using the emoji to denote what they consider to be “red flags,” (we’ll get to what that means in a bit), but it wasn’t until October 12th that the trend became a sitewide and internet sensation after the official account for Twitter posted “I’m not on Twitter” with two and a half lines of red flag icons. Following Twitter’s lead, more users, brands and celebs began posting their own versions of the meme, creating a sea of red flags washing across your social feeds.

The emoji’s official name, per Emojipedia, is Triangular Flag, and before it became a giant meme, it was commonly associated with golf, as it can also be seen in the Flag in Hole emoji. But, as is the case here, it “can also be used to represent the termΒ red flag, signalingΒ a problem or issue.”

The term “red flag” can be used to indicate anything you find concerning, but it’s widely used in relation to dating. Anything anyone does or says can be considered a red flag, but there are a few universal ones β€” like if a guy has navy blue bed sheets or poses with dead fish on his dating profile. You might also hear people call “pick-me girl” behavior a red flag. But as we’ve seen, lots of things, from BeyoncΓ© haters to pineapple on pizza, can be a deal-breaker.

Again, the meme is mostly being used in jest so don’t get all bent out of shape if someone says your love of pineapple on pizza is a red flag. You can expect to see this meme format in the foreseeable future, but it’s been nearly a week since the red flag mania began, and the spread is already dying down. I’ll blame death of this meme (and all memes) on Brand Twitter which capitalized hard on this one creating an insane amount of cringe-y posts. Which, by the way: brands faking sentience? Major red flag.

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