Facebook Patent Means You Could Use Your Face as an Emoji

Yes, you did read that right, Facebook has filed a new patent which would allow you to use your face as an emoji. I don't mean one of those downloadable emoji makers where you can design an emoji to look like you, no. Instead, Facebook will be using photos of you that they have on the system.


The Next Web

This new idea uses the facial recognition technology that Facebook has been having some trouble with recently. So how  does it work? Basically, when you use one of the more simple emoji, Facebook take note of how it is actually typed and then look through your photos to find a picture that matched. So if you used a sad smiley, the system would look for a picture where your mouth was turned down, but an angry smiley would look for your mouth turned down or set in a line and angry eyebrows. It's quite easy to understand but it isn't something that all people might appreciate. The images provided with the patent at least suggest that the emoji images will still be small head shots so you don't have to worry about them taking over your screen.

This patent actually follows on from Slack's custom emoji option. On Slack this means you can use any image as an emoji without having to worry about waiting for the Unicode Consortium to approve it. Twitch also provides an option similar to this. Facebook's personalised emoji won't work in the same way, but they're taking the idea and making it work in a way that's individual to Facebook. This isn't the first time Facebook have emulated Slack as it's actually where they got the idea for their Reactions from. Only it took them two years after filing that patent to actually put them into action.

The biggest problem with this patent will be the fact that once again this feature uses Facebook's facial recognition technology. They may love it, but outside of the US they always have trouble with getting those features rolled out due to privacy laws. Admittedly it might be a little different if you're choosing to send those emoji, but you have to hope that you'll be able to opt in to use these special emoji rather than have to opt out, otherwise there might be even more trouble with the European courts. Of course by the time they release this feature, those problems should hopefully be all ironed out.

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