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I received one actual Google message and at least three spam emails today which displayed an icon of some sort in the subject title. I cannot find an option to turn off this visual noise; some of the icons are even animated!

Heading only:

Heading only

Gmail interface:

Gmail interface

  • I am pretty sure that he is speaking of the emoticons that appear in subject lines. They are common in mail that lands in the spam folder. – Bradley A. Tetreault Dec 11 '15 at 1:22
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    This is a duplicate of Animated icon in email subject which was asked on Stack Overflow. You should check this question as it provides a possible work around. – Bradley A. Tetreault Dec 11 '15 at 1:35
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    @BradleyA.Tetreault Where is the workaround? I can't find it. The linked Q&A only deal with how these emoji work as far as I can see. – l0b0 Dec 11 '15 at 21:30
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    @l0b0 it seems like I misread a part of that post, they show how to find more of them, not how to remove them. Sorry for the hopeful disappointment. From all the sources I have uncovered there does NOT seem to be any way to get rid of them. – Bradley A. Tetreault Dec 11 '15 at 21:41
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4

Cross-posted to How can I turn off or hide animated emoji icons in subject lines in Gmail?

Short Answer

The Gmail web app doesn't include an option to turn off or hide the animated icons shown in the subject. One way to do this is by using the CSS property {display:none} to elements having the goomoji attribute.

Code

Simplest code
This will hide all the emojis in the Gmail web UI.

[goomoji]{
    display:none;
}

Hide only emojis in the subject (not tested yet)

.y6>span>img[goomoji]{
    display:none;
}

Explanation

Animated icons are called emojis, they were incorporated as UNICODE characters from 2010. As they aren't supported by all computer operating systems and web browsers Gmail replace them by using the attribute goomoji.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a language used for the presentation of web pages. One of its elements are selectors which are used to specify the presentation settings of HTML elements.

To help users to apply custom CSS, aka user styles, there are extensions for web browsers. One of them is Stylish for Chrome.

References

1

So many people are frustrated by this growing trend, not just among lowly spammers but big companies like eBay and Amazon too, that there is now an open-source Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey/Violentmonkey userscript to get rid of those irritating visual cockroaches:

Gmail Subject Line Emoji Roach Motel

How to Use It?

This script works in

Greasemonkey in Firefox
Tampermonkey in Chrome (and probably many other browsers)
...probably also Violentmonkey in various browsers 

First, you have to download one of those monkey extensions in your web browser, by going to your browser's "Add-Ons" or "Extensions" screen and searching for the name of the extension and installing it. Scripts for those monkey extensions can give you all kinds of cool features.

Then, you load this script into that extension by simply clicking this link:

https://lurkertech.com/emoji/gmail_subject_line_emoji_roach_motel.user.js

The script will only run when you visit mail.google.com and of course you can always turn it off in the menu for your monkey extension. When you first install the script, you will need to reload gmail or open a new gmail tab to see the effect.

What to Expect

This script does not modify your actual email, or delete or move any email messages. It simply prevents certain objectionable characters from being displayed while on the main gmail screen. If you turn off the script, all those characters come back.

This script should not slow down your gmail experience at all.

This script should only eliminate cockroaches in the subject line of emails in gmail's main screen (the screen where you see many different emails listed for one "mailbox"/label/folder), not the gmail screen showing one particular email with its subject and body.

This script should exterminate cockroaches in both the email title and the short snippet of the email body that appears on the same line.

There are two general types of emoji cockroaches that this script exterminates:

  • HTML-image-based cockroaches (including the horrible animated ones): this script eliminates image-based cockroaches before you have to see them.

  • Unicode cockroaches: The script exterminates these a few seconds after gmail loads, so you get the pleasure of seeing them disappear. There might be a technical way to eliminate this type from the start, but I haven't found it yet. When new mails with these cockroaches arrive, those cockroaches too will take a few seconds to be exterminated. Similarly, when you switch to a new folder, it may take a few seconds for cockroaches in messages of that folder to die.

Licensing

The source code is available unobfuscated, and you are welcome to copy, modify, and distribute it under the terms of the GNU AGPL, which includes providing credit and a link back to this page.

Technical approach

See this StackOverflow question for details about the two types of email subject line spam emojis and how to exterminate them.

And for much more information see https://lurkertech.com/emoji and the comments in the source code of the userscript at https://lurkertech.com/emoji/gmail_subject_line_emoji_roach_motel.user.js

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You can try disabling Gmail labs which offers the experimental stuff from the settings, it may work

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    Emoticons in the subject are put there by the sender, thus your Labs settings would not affect them. – Michelfrancis Bustillos Dec 22 '15 at 15:09

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