Ahead of World Emoji Day (Sunday, July 17) Emojipedia reported that WhatsApp is getting more emojii. World Emoji Day is the annual celebration of emoji use across the world. Created and hosted by Emojipedia, the event is in its ninth year and is celebrated on July 17th each year.
In addition, Emojipedia also stated that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that WhatsApp will be updating its emoji reactions feature for both iOS and Android devices. This new update will allow users to react to messages from any emoji included within their emoji keyboards.
According to Emojipedia, the update is now rolling out across select global regions and is expected to reach all of WhatsApp’s global userbase in the coming weeks and months.
After a WhatsApp user downloads the emoji update, they can press and hold on a message within WhatsApp to make the reaction menu appear as before – but now it will feature a + option, which allows users to dive into the 3,600+ currently available emojis, including all skin tone modifier options.
Emojipedia also noted that the expansion of the WhatsApp reaction feature mirrors a feature currently available for Instagram users in select regions, which allows any emoji from the emoji keyboard to be used as a reaction to a direct message on the platform. (Meta is the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.)
TechCrunch reported that WhatsApp first announced its emoji reaction feature in April, but started to make it available to everyone in May. At that time, you could only react via six available emoji: thumbs up, heart, joined hands, tears of joy, mouth open and crying face.
Engadget reported that the WhatsApp emoji update put it on par with Messenger in terms of emoji reactions, and works the same way on mobile. According to Engadget, Telegram recently unveiled expanded emoji and animated reactions as well, but you have to subscribe to Telegram’s new $5/month premium service to access them.
Personally, I don’t tend to use a whole lot of emoji. On Twitter, I am most likely going to click the heart-shaped “like” rather than post an emoji in response to someone else’s tweet. The Mastodon instance I’m on has tons of user-created emoji, and I use several of them to express a mood. If I’m using Instagram, I typically click the “heart” button on content that amuses me.
It is a good idea to understand how a specific emoji is interpreted by other people. For example, I’ve seen screenshots of the “Face With Tears” emoji being used on obituaries that were posted in social media. Apparently, some people think it is expressing tears of grief, and are unaware that others will see that as tears of laughter.