The most popular emoji in the world has been named...

The ‘Face with tears of Joy’ has been named the most popular emoji in the world.  

It’s not hard to believe really, considering it made the title of “word of the year” in 2015.  

The little yellow face with tears coming from the eyes signifies happiness and laughter and amounts to an enormous 15.4% of emoji use.  And the list of top twenty astounds, showing just how significant emoji use has become in society.  

And the top 20 emojis were identified by percentage usage.  

 The study was undertaken by the University of Michigan in conjunction with Peking University in China.

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The research paper gathered data from 427 million messages, on 4 million smartphones.  They covered an enormous breadth of 212 countries using the Kika emoji app keyboard as their data gathering tool. 

The top emojis in order were… 


  1.  Face with tears of joy: A laughing emoji which at small sizes is often mistaken for being tears of sadness. This emoji is laughing so much that it is crying tears of joy.
  2. Heavy black heart: A classic red love heart emoji, used to express love. Despite the name “Heavy Black Heart”, this character appears red on all platforms when displayed with emoji presentation.
  3. Heart eyes emoji: A face with hearts instead of eyes, or Heart Eyes Emoji as it is generally known. Used as an expression of love, for example:  “I love you” or “I love this”.
  4. Face throwing a kiss: An emoji face blowing a kiss; but officially called “Face Throwing A Kiss”.  One eye is open, the other is winking. A heart is shown leaving the kissing mouth.
  5. Smiling Face with Smiling Eyes: A smiling face, with smiling eyes and rosy cheeks. Showing a true sense of happiness.  This emoji smiles with its mouth closed, which makes it different from the other smiling face which generally show teeth with an open mouth.
Image: University of Michigin/Peking University Emoji Usage study
Image: University of Michigin/Peking University Emoji Usage study