What I See is What You Don’t Get: The effects of (not) seeing emoji rendering differences across platforms

Hannah Miller Hillberg, Zachary Levonian, Daniel Kluver, Loren Terveen, Brent Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Emoji are popular in digital communication, but they are rendered differently on different viewing platforms (e.g., iOS, Android). It is unknown how many people are aware that emoji have multiple renderings, or whether they would change their emoji-bearing messages if they could see how these messages render on recipients’ devices. We developed software to expose the multi-rendering nature of emoji and explored whether this increased visibility would affect how people communicate with emoji. Through a survey of 710 Twitter users who recently posted an emoji-bearing tweet, we found that at least 25% of respondents were unaware that the emoji they posted could appear differently to their followers. Additionally, after being shown how one of their tweets rendered across platforms, 20% of respondents reported that they would have edited or not sent the tweet. These statistics reflect millions of potentially regretful tweets shared per day because people cannot see emoji rendering differences across platforms. Our results motivate the development of tools that increase the visibility of emoji rendering differences across platforms, and we contribute our cross-platform emoji rendering software1 to facilitate this effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Cross-platform
  • Emoji
  • Invisibility of system status
  • Rendering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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