Brief history of emoji: Icons that are used nearly 5 billion times every single day

Updated on Oct 02, 2020 05:55 PM IST

Taking to Twitter, World Economic Forum shared a link to a report that explains the history of emoji.

In 2020, a total number 3,136 emojis are in use (representational image).(Pixabay)
In 2020, a total number 3,136 emojis are in use (representational image).(Pixabay)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByTrisha Sengupta

Have you used an emoji today while texting someone or posting something? Most will nod their heads in agreement as people, all across the world, use emojis every single day. Be it to say what they’re feeling or show what they’re up to, people use them in various situations. These ideograms and smileys have become an integral part of the virtual communication - so much so that there is also an animated movie made on these icons. In fact, a blog published by World Economic Forum reported that emojis are used nearly 5 billion times every day on Facebook and in Facebook Messenger alone. Let that sink in!


Taking to Twitter, they shared an image showing how the numbers of different types of emojis in existence have increased from 1995 and what it will be in 2021. The tweet is complete with a link of the blog that further explains the history of emoji in details.

The report explains that in 1995 the number of emojis in existence were just 76. In 2020, that number has grown to 3,136. Next year, in 2021, the number is set to increase to 3,353.

Some emojis, expectedly, are used more than others. Do you know the type of the icons used also vary according to the social media platforms? For instance, crying with laughter is the most used emoji on Twitter and Facebook. For Instagram, however, it is the heart emoji.


Another interesting fact is that the icons which appear on people’s phones are not arbitrary. Unicode Consortium, a US non-profit, oversees the character inventory of the emojis. In other words, this body decides what is going to become an emoji and what is not. They also set standards so that the emojis appear uniformly across different platform, though the style may vary from one provider to another.

Unicode Consortium’s website also has a detailed list of all the emojis in existence. You can check the list here.

As for the tweet the World Economic Forum shared, read it here:

People expressed their surprise about how heavily the emojis are being used on a daily basis.

“Thank you for the post. I had no idea that 5 billion emojis are used daily. I haven’t used them that much in the past and I’m constantly challenged to figure out what some of them mean. Ha ha,” wrote a Twitter user. “Modern day cave symbols,” joked another.

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