Microsoft has come under fire from angry Skype users after a number of emoticons were removed from the service as they were deemed offensive.
The icons in question include a pair of women's legs in high heels, and two other facial expressions that could previously be rendered by typing (wtf) and (fubar) - acronyms for potentially offensive slang terms. An icon containing a face and a middle finger was also removed.
A community manager on the Skype forums said that the hidden icons had been removed from a recent update of the product "because of them or their shortcodes having the potential to offend some users".
On a dedicated area set up for discussion of returning the removed icons, users were on the whole upset with the move.
One wrote: "You aren't forced to talk to people who use language you don't like."
Another said: "These icons were a 'fun' way to express ourselves to colleagues and friends alike. They ARE part of the language and should be used."
However, another user, WithinRafael, jumped to Microsoft's defence: "Those emoticons were completely inappropriate and unprofessional, and I am glad they were removed from the base product."
Some users also noted that a number of other icons, including a vomiting face and a 'mooning' man, have not been removed from the service.
Skype was first launched more than 10 years ago, but was bought by Microsoft in 2011, and has since been used to replace the Windows software maker's instant messaging service, Windows Live Messenger - formerly known as MSN Messenger.