Facebook has started to roll out support for emoji in all posts and comments on desktop and mobile, a company spokesperson tells us.
Previously, emoji — a standardized set of emoticons and picture characters — were available for Facebook Messenger, but not within status updates, comments or other posts. Facebook started offering some chat emoticons in comments on desktop last year, but this wasn’t the full emoji set. Now, users have more flexibility in sharing smileys and other icons across Facebook, whether it’s a check-in, photo caption, group post or some other message or comment.
The social network has made a number of moves recently to bring more ways for users to express themselves through small pictures. There are the new structured status updates where users can share what they’re feeling, eating, drinking, watching, reading or listening to. And the new stickers for mobile messages.
These features, along with emoji, help users communicate in new ways or say things that might be difficult otherwise. They can also add a bit more fun into the service, which at points has been seen as a cold or sterile platform compared to the flash and flexibility of other social networks. When Facebook released the Poke app, which was sillier than its typically utilitarian features, we wondered if it was a sign of more to come. So far this year it seems that Facebook is lightening up and giving users new options that are popular in other apps.
The latest emoji support for posts and comments was built at a Facebook hackathon last week and began rolling out to users on Tuesday. To create emoji characters, a user must enable the emoji keyboard on their phone and in their web browser. For example, ShowMeEmoji is a useful extension for Chrome users.