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The Science Behind Facebook’s New Emoji

The company went all out—consulting with sociologists and crunching data—to choose six icons to accompany the “like” button.

Adam Mosseri has a very important job. As head of Facebook’s news feed, Mosseri and his team were assigned the task of determining which six cartoon images would accompany the social network’s ubiquitous thumbs-up button. They did not take the task lightly. To help choose the right emoji to join “like,” Mosseri said Facebook consulted with several academic sociologists “about the range of human emotion.”

These were the results, which will begin rolling out to users in Spain and Ireland on Oct. 8, and may eventually reach all 1.49 billion users:

Source: Facebook

The decision was reached after much deliberation. Arriving at the best of those trivial and common picture faces followed a lot of data crunching and outside help. Mosseri combined the sociologists’ feedback with data showing what people do on Facebook, he said...