New changes on Twitter mean that for the first time each emoji counts as the same number of characters in a tweet. Previously πŸ’, πŸ’πŸ½, and πŸ’πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ would have used 2, 4, and 9 characters respectively.

The limit of 280 characters remains intact for latin characters, and as before, each emoji uses two characters. This change announced by Twitter today means that instead of some emojis using two characters and other using up to 14 characters, all will now use a consistent two characters.

Prior to this update, here was how many characters each type of emoji used:

  • πŸ’ Emoji: 2

  • πŸ’πŸ½ Emoji + skin tone: 4

  • πŸ’β€β™‚οΈ Emoji + gender: 7

  • πŸ’πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ Emoji + gender + skin tone: 9

  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§ Family with 3 people: 8

  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Family with 4 people: 11

  • πŸ‡³πŸ‡΄ Country Flag: 4

  • πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Rainbow Flag: 7

  • 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Subdivision Flag: 14

While not a deliberate effort to discourage certain emoji types, the net result of the previous character counter meant that people using emojis with skin tones would be left with fewer characters remaining to tweet than those who used the default yellow emojis.

Under Twitter's new system, all of the emoji types are equal and use two characters, no matter how many code points are used:

  • πŸ’ Emoji: 2

  • πŸ’πŸ½ Emoji + skin tone: 2

  • πŸ’β€β™‚οΈ Emoji + gender: 2

  • πŸ’πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ Emoji + gender + skin tone: 2

  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§ Family with 3 people: 2

  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Family with 4 people: 2

  • πŸ‡³πŸ‡΄ Country Flag: 2

  • πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Rainbow Flag: 2

  • 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Subdivision Flag: 2

Twitter Design Lead Bryan Haggerty confirmed to Emojipedia that Twitter is using the Twemoji library to determine "what counts as an emoji", in effect meaning that any of the 2,823 emojis supported in Twemoji will get the equal-character-count treatment.

tweet-limit-change-october-2018-emojipedia
Above: Prior to this update, some emojis could use as many as 14 characters on Twitter.

Platforms that extended the standard Unicode RGI[1] set to include additional emojis (such as Microsoft’s Ninja Cat) will not be counted under the new system, and will continue to use more than two characters.

This is a welcome update that not only removes a layer of confusion for users, it also indirectly makes the platform more equal for those who prefer to use πŸ’πŸ½ over πŸ’.


  1. "Recommended for General Interchange" β†©οΈŽ