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This Is What iPhone Emojis Look Like On Android

Research shows that varying emojis may be to blame for miscommunication woes.

I recently discovered that I've been sending *wildly* different emojis to my Android friends.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed / Emojipedia

I thought I was texting, HAY LET'S GO OUT :and danse:...

...when it was really more like HAY LET'S GO OUT :can I court you: (on Android) or even more terrifyingly, HAY LET'S GO OUT :I'm a preteen: (on Samsung).

A new paper has shown that people interpret an emoji's meaning in a variety of ways, in part because emojis look so different across platforms.

Group Lens / Via

The paper's co-author, Hannah Miller, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota, and her team asked 304 people how they felt about different emojis.

Hannah Miller

"We asked [the participants] to rate 15 emoji renderings on sentiment, from strongly negative to strongly positive, whether it was angry or said, happy or excited," Miller told BuzzFeed.

"The study was inspired by some personal experiences," Miller said. "This particular topic came from the fact that if I wrote something on my phone or browser, I saw different emoji each time I looked."

One emoji, "grinning face with smiling eyes," is particularly ambiguous.

Group Lens / Via

The paper, which will be published by AAAI International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media in May, revealed that users saw the Google version of the emoji as "'blissfully happy' while the exact same Unicode character, but rendered for Apple, was described as 'ready to fight.'"

And that ambiguity leads to confusing cross-platform conversations like this:

Group Lens / Via

In addition to sentiment, the study also asked participants to describe the emojis in their own words.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed / Emojipedia

Researcher Steven Chang told BuzzFeed, "On the semantic side, the emoji with the show of two hands was described very differently. Some participants described it as 'stop' while others described as 'pray' or 'praise.'"

Not only was sentiment different because of the varying platforms (iOS vs. Android), but users' interpretations of emojis varied within the same platform as well.

"A lot of people reacting to this study are calling for a standard. Well, it does come from a standard — Unicode. There is a title, like 'smiling face with open mouth and tightly closed eyes,' and each company creates their own rendering based on that," Miller said.

"What we see is a more technical solution, where it's automatically computed how you may be miscommunicating based on your input."

The researchers said there were some limitations in the study. First, that surrounding text may disambiguate the emoji's meaning and second, that culture, age, and technical background may be a factor.

Bottom line: Be wary of what your emoji may be saying on a different device. Nothin' wrong with an old-fashioned smiley or frown when in doubt. :) :(


(You can also look up all of the different emoji renderings at Emojipedia.)

Google, Apple: I know you're in a smartphone platform war or whatever, but can't we all just get along so we can stop *accidentally saying the wrong thing* to the people we know and love?!?!

🌍 One world, one emoji font. 🌍