Facebook has confirmed its major emoji update for 2018 is now available for the majority of Facebook users. The release, of which some elements began to be surface in June, features 157 new emojis as well as a glossy design overhaul.
With the rollout now in its final weeks, here's what's new and changed.
Above: New smileys available as part of Facebook's latest emoji update.
As we noted earlier this year, this update marks the second major redesign of Facebook's core emoji set in just under two years. The last major redesign was completed in February of 2017, with a similarly prolonged preview / roll-out period.
Shown below is a selection of emojis which have seen significant changes in this release. These designs are now glossy with stronger gradients, and an almost 3D-like design. This is a change in aesthetic from earlier designs, and one that echoes that trends seen in the Apple and WhatsApp design sets in recent years.
Many emojis have also been given additional details compared to the relatively simple designs in place before.
Above: A comparison of select emoji designs between the Facebook 2.2.1 emoji update and the Facebook 3.0 emoji update.
Above: The journey of 💩 Pile of Poo on Android devices across Facebook and Facebook Messenger over the last number of years.
Every new emoji from Emoji 11.0 is supported in this update, with these including bald people, redheads, a receipt, mango, and more.
Above: A selection of new Emoji 11.0 emoji premiering on Facebook with this update.
Note that these hair styles appear as their own individual emoji designs based on 👨 Man and 👩 Woman. There are not (presently) other RGI hair colour sequences for any other person emoji, which is consistent with the Emoji 11.0 standard released earlier this year.
Above: Facebook's designs for the four new hair style emoji. Each support the five Fitzpatrick Scale skin tone modifiers.
In the food and drink category, six new emojis have been added, including one of the more controversial newcomers, the 🥯 Bagel. Facebook's designers may have heeded the outcry of Apple users, depicting a fresh-looking bagel with a cream cheese filling in this release.
Above: New entries in the food and drink category in the Facebook 3.0 emoji update.
Facebook 3.0 features the ten new animal emojis from Emoji 11.0, including 🦘 Kangaroo and 🦚 Peacock. 🦡 Badger and 🦛 Hippopotamus display the full creature and not just the head: now the prevalent design choice, despite Google choosing to display just the animals' heads.
Above: Ten new animal emojis now available on Facebook.
When a gender is not specified, 🦸 Superhero and 🦹 Supervillain both appear as 🦸♂️ Man Superhero and 🦹♂️ Man Supervillain respectively - something that varies by platform. All support skin tone modifiers.
Additional new Emoji 11.0 emojis include multiple new objects relating to science, sport and household items. All new emojis added to Facebook 3.0 can be viewed here.
This update features a comprehensive redesign of the entire Facebook emoji set: almost all emojis have experienced at least some form of modification.
There are several instances where designs have been changed to more closely match the designs of other vendors. A handful of lesser-used emojis feature new designs which deviate from the emergent norms.
In an email to Emojipedia about the redesign, a Facebook spokesperson noted that the push behind the new set was to fit in with the variety of platforms Facebook now displays emoji:
“We realized the need to push on the form, color and vibrancy to feel more at home in a variety of surfaces such as camera, Stories, video, etc. The end result are emoji that are not only more expressive and fun, but have greater depth and dimensionality.”
🤣 Rolling on the Floor Laughing now shows two tears of laughter.
🤮 Face Vomiting now has an intense glare instead of closed eyes.
👸 Princess now wears earrings and has more detail in the tiara, dress and overall shading.
Almost all of the people and the profession emoji have had their facial features and other details augmented. See 🤷♂️ Man Shrugging, 🤰 Pregnant Woman, 👮♀️ Woman Police Officer and 🤾♂️ Man Playing Handball as examples below.
🤹 Person Juggling now shows a person juggling instead of juggling hands.
💀 Skull has been given a jaw.
🧛 Vampire now bares teeth and has a default-yellow skin tone instead of gray.
🦔 Hedgehog is now standing on all-fours as opposed to lying on its back.
🥪 Sandwich now includes ham and has been cut in half.
🚀 Rocket is now more detailed and no longer includes an alien creature inside.
Flags have had their style changed and now feature a more realistic glossy waving flag instead of the flat style used previously.
🧚 Fairy kept the same outline as the previous release, but with great detail and shading added.
This type of change (same outline, new details) has been a common theme for a number of emojis in this redesign.
Just about every emoji has been redesigned in this release but there is an exception when it comes to the 👪 Family variations.
While the default ("non-human" yellow skin) versions of these family emojis have been updated with new detailed designs, the versions which permit skin tones did not see the same overhaul. See 👨👩👧👦 Family of Man, Woman, Girl, Boy as an example below.
Facebook is one of the few vendors to support skin tones for emojis that include multiple people, and the use of the Fitzpatrick scale skin tone sequences with family emojis have not been given RGI status by the Unicode Consortium, the organisation which selects and creates new emoji.
As such, these more diverse family emojis aren't often found in common use, and likely won't be until or unless more platforms also adopt these sequences. When these emojis are viewed on platforms which don't support the sequences, the composite people within the emoji sequence display instead.
A number of non-standard emoji additions were removed in this release. Similarly to the families, emojis with two or more people aren't given RGI sequences for skin tone support in Emoji 11.0. As such, the following emojis no longer support skin tones in Facebook 3.0:
- 👯 People With Bunny Ears
- 👯♀️ Women With Bunny Ears
- 👯♂️ Men With Bunny Ears
- 👭 Two Women Holding Hands
- 👫 Man and Woman Holding Hands
- 👬 Two Men Holding Hands
- 🤝 Handshake
- 🤼 People Wrestling
- 🤼♂️ Men Wrestling
- 🤼♀️ Women Wrestling
These emojis are drafted to include some level of skin tone support in 2019. Given this, it's possible they may return in a future update.
This update has been rolling out to users in various testing phases since June 2018. Facebook has confirmed that rollout has been ongoing, and now all users should have this update, or receive it in the coming weeks.
On iOS, Facebook chooses to use native (Apple) emoji support, so iOS users will not have experienced any further change since updating to iOS 12.1 in October.
These hair styles are created by combining 👨 Man and 👩 Woman with one of four new emoji components: 🦰 Emoji Component Red Hair, 🦱 Emoji Component Curly Hair, 🦲 Emoji Component Bald and 🦳 Emoji Component White Hair. These emoji components are given graphical representation within Facebook 3.0 - a choice which has been made by all major vendors bar Twitter. ↩︎
At present, only Samsung includes a gender-inclusive design for Superhero and Supervillain to display if a gender is not specified. ↩︎
Facebook wasn't alone in showing one person in the bunny ears emojis, as this was one of two common designs for this emoji in Japan (ostensibly different emojis, but merged as one in the Unicode Standard). Despite a number of major vendors previously using one person, this is less common now. ↩︎
This new design echoes the recently replaced version of 🚯 No Littering on Microsoft devices, which similarly appeared to prohibit putting litter in a trash can. Expect this one to be fixed in a minor update. ↩︎
Presently, only Facebook and Windows provide support for skin tone usage on the various family emojis. Microsoft introduced skin tone modifications to family emoji (including the ability to represent multi-racial families) in August 2016, while Facebook introduced family skin tone modifications in August 2017. ↩︎