A new patent filed by Facebook earlier this month reveals that the company may be trying to make your face the new emoji.
Using facial recognition technology, it appears Facebook wants to sort through your tagged photos to find faces that best match the emoji you meant to use. For example, if typing :) leads to the ? emoji, it may instead replace that with a photo of you smiling.
If implemented, it will likely limit the compatible emoji to a select set of emotions easily detectable by the software (standard crying or angry emoji come to mind.) It would also encourage users to upload and tag themselves in photos more often to have a better pool of emoji options.
If all this sounds sort of familiar to you, you’re probably thinking of Slack, which offers a custom emoji option so you can use any face or object without waiting for the Unicode Consortium to approve. Amazon’s Twitch also offers a similar feature.
Facebook’s intended implementation of custom emoji would be more automated, however. Note that Reactions arrived to Facebook nearly two years after its patent was granted, so you have time to upload new, flattering head shots for the occasion.