How your device depicts an emoji depends on the operating system it is running. The same "smiley face" emoticon, for instance, appears slightly different when viewed on an iPhone, an Android-powered handset, and a Windows Phone-powered handset. This variation can cause miscommunication between people (PDF), a study by GroupLens Research has found. The research lab in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota said that sometimes this can cause people to misinterpret the emotion and the meaning of emoji-based communication "quite significantly." The conclusion reads: Emoji are used alongside text in digital communication, but their visual nature leaves them open to interpretation. In addition, emoji render differently on different platforms, so people may interpret one platform's rendering differently than they interpret another platform's. Psycholinguistic theory suggests that interpretation must be consistent between two people in order to avoid communication challenges. In this research, we explored whether emoji are consistently interpreted as well as whether interpretation remains consistent across renderings by different platforms. For 5 different platform renderings of 22 emoji Unicode characters, we find disagreement in terms of both sentiment and semantics, and these disagreements only increase when considering renderings across platforms.
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