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Black Lives Matter Emoji Usage Analysis.png

Black Lives Matter Emoji Usage Analysis

May 25, 2020, is a day that will go down in US history. On that fateful day, a 46-year old African-American man lost his life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after Derek Chauvin, a police officer, knelt on his neck for nine minutes, while he was face down and handcuffed.

The death of George Floyd has sparked protests from people demanding equal rights and just treatment for African-Americans. It has affected all facets of life and even Emoji usage.

✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿Black Lives Matter Emoji on an Upswing

The Twitter custom emoji that automatically appears after #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was all over twitter.

On Google there was a spike of searches with the terms "Black Lives Matter emoji," "blm emoji," and "Black Lives Matter emoji copy and paste."

blm emoji google trends

Figure 1: "Black Lives Matter emoji," "blm emoji," and "Black Lives Matter emoji copy and paste" Worldwide searches on Google trends.

The worldwide trends seen on Google emphasize the sudden popularity of the Raised Fists emoji starting on May 27, two days after George Floyd's death. However, no change was observed when it came to the use of black and red hearts.

Black Lives Matter Emoji.jpg

Figure 2: Worldwide searches for ✊🏽Raised Fist: Medium Skin Tone, 🖤Black Heart, and ✊🏾Raised Fist: Medium-Dark Skin Tone emojis betweeen May 21 and June 1.

To make it easier for everyone who wants to search and use Black Lives Matter related emojis, I have created the collection ✊🏿Black Lives Matter. To improve this collection, I made an analysis to discover which most correlate with the Black Lives Matter movement, the results of which are shown below.

📊 Backed by Data

On June 3, 2020, data set collected from 162,101 unique tweets that have the text "BlackLivesMatter" or the hashtag "#BlackLivesMatter." There was a total of 61,389 emojis counted in these tweets. Further filtering left us with only 1,236 unique emojis. You can see the collected data here. If you use it somewhere, please share it with me on twitter.

top 10 blm emojis

Figure 3: Top 10 emojis related to #Blacklivesmatter

Out of more than a thousand unique emojis, the leading one was the ✊🏾Raised Fist: Medium-Dark Skin Tone, accounting for 4,522 of the tweets or 7.37%.

The second most popular emoji was the ❤️Red Heart emoji with 3,873 tweets or 6.31%. This emoji is the second most popular emoji across Twitter, according to emojitracker. But the all-time leader emoji 😂Face with Tears of Joy had only 8th place. Nine from the top ten emojis are all related to Black Lives Matter topic.

top 18 blm emojis graph

Figure 4: Top 18 emojis related to #Blacklivesmatter - 50.88% of the tweets.

Now, let's look at the Top 18 emojis, which account for about 50% of all the total emojis. No surprise there, all of them belong to the Black Lives Matter group, except the 🤣Rolling on the Floor Laughing at the bottom of the list, and 😂Face with Tears of Joy accounting for 1.07% and 2.16% of the tweets.

The new popular emoji 🥺Pleading Face is on the 17 place, was found in tweets 681 times.

It is interesting to note that various heart-like emojis accounted for 19% of the shares. The red heart emoji leads the pack of all other heart-related emojis with 3873 tweets out of a total of 11572. It accounted for 6.31% of the total tweets.


To make it easier for everyone to visualize the usage of the emojis, here is an illustration that shows how #BlackLivesMatter were used in communications on Twitter. The bigger the emoji, the more the usage.


Figure 5: #BlackLivesMatter EmojiCloud .

Out of more than a thousand emojis used, 385 in total were those that have skin tone modifications applied. They were used 21,279 times, which accounted for 35.40% of shares.

skin tone emojis relative distrubution blm

Figure 1: This pie chart shows the skin tone distribution of the Black Lives Matter emojis.

It is important to notice that the trending raised fist emoji looks a bit different on leading platforms, although they share the same attributes.

Raised fist emoji on different platforms

Related Terms on Twitter.

Lastly, we not only focused on emojis but also checked the tweets used with the raised fist emojis ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿. There were 10,205 tweets in total. After counting frequency, I created this word cloud to see what does raised fist emoji means now.


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