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Unpacking the cursed digital object that is Steam’s clown reaction emoji

But doctor, I am mostly positive!

Apex Legends' caustic in a clown skin
Image credit: Respawn/Panic Button

I don’t want to strike sweaty terror into anyone’s gentle hearts here, but I’m beginning to suspect lately that the friendly clown emojis I keep seeing as reactions to Steam user reviews aren’t actually a colorful kudos to the writer for being a chucklesome and whimsical individual. I’m starting to fear, actually, that this one icon of a behatted japester may have been widely adopted as an oddly hostile way to single out dissenting opinions, rapidly accelerating the Steam reviews’ grisly metamorphosis into something that more resembles a clout-farming social app than anything with pretensions towards facilitating helpfulness or self expression.

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