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Facebook statistics on emoji with medical mask Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: It’s probably a sign of the pandemic times, but did you know like people with face masks everywhere, emojis with masks too are increasingly figuring in our social media posts these days?

Well, on World Emoji Day today (July 17), Facebook has let on that the UAE is among the top five countries in the region when it comes to the use of this emoji in Facebook posts, with a whopping 600,000-plus occurrences recorded between April 7 and July 7 this year,

While the UAE was in the fifth position, the first four slots were taken up by Egypt and Algeria at 3.4 million posts, Morocco 1.2 million and Saudi Arabia 900,000 posts.

What is an emoji?
Emoji is a small digital image or symbol used in electronic communication to convey an idea or feeling. The first emoji were created as recently as in 1999 by Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita.

The emoji, which has closed eyes and a white mask over the mouth, mainly indicates an intention of taking precautions and avoiding sickness, if not sickness itself sometimes.

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World Emoji Day - the top 10 emojis used in the region Image Credit: Supplied

According to Facebook, the top 10 emojis used across the MENA region include face with tears of joy, red heart, heavy black heart, smiling face with heart shaped eyes, rolling on the floor laughing, face throwing a kiss, rose, sparkling heart, heart suit and broken heart.

“Hearts and laughing smileys are the most popular forms of expression among people in this region, pointing to the positive mindset that still resides in communities even as we navigate unfamiliar and challenging times,” it said.

Facebook said the people of this region heavily rely on emojis when posting and commenting on the social media platform.

“Thanks to the rise of visual-based communication, we are returning to more graphic forms of expression. Driven by a desire for intimacy, in the midst of a bustling world, there is an urge to convey our thoughts and feelings as we look to connect with others. This is reflected in a new vocabulary of emojis, GIFs and camera-based messaging, which is helping us express ourselves in a more dynamic way. Given the unprecedented times we are living in, and with people spending more time at home, emojis are becoming more relevant than ever before,” it added.

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