Facebook’s Soundmojis Would Be Annoying If They Weren't So Well Designed

Listen up!

Key Takeaways

  • Facebook just rolled out Soundmojis—emoji that play sounds. 
  • The social media platform plans to add new options regularly.
  • Sounds include claps, a laughing ghost, and song lyrics.
Facebook Soundmoji banner image


I expected a Facebook feature that adds sound to emoji to be extremely annoying, but they’re actually pretty fun thanks to some well-thought-out design features. 

The social media platform introduced a limited set of Soundmojis to celebrate World Emoji Day on July 17, which put a special spin on the beloved visual communications tool by adding sounds that correspond to each emoji. According to Sanjaya Wijeratne, research scientist at Holler.io, Soundmoji is the latest development in adding expressive power to the tools we use to communicate without words.

"The introduction of sound into emoji says that we are exploring and heading into more expressive ways of non-verbal communication," Wijeratne told Lifewire in an email.

Given the popularity of emoji, the innovation makes sense. According to Adobe’s latest Global Emoji Trend Report that surveyed 7,000 people in several countries, 88% of respondents said they were more likely to feel empathetic toward someone using an emoji.

How Soundmojis Work

Facebook has introduced Soundmojis in its Messenger app, which each carry a different sound more or less related to the image. 

To access them, tap the smiley face next to Messenger’s text bar with the flashing cursor. From there, tap the speaker icon to find the current list of Soundmojis. Twenty-three were available for me, and Facebook says it plans to regularly update the library. Tapping a Soundmoji will let you preview the sound. When you’re ready, simply tap the "send" button at the top of the screen next to your Soundmoji of choice. 

facebook soundmoji in messenger app on iOS


You can tell an image is a Soundmoji by the soundwave shapes around the image. 

Some of the sounds are very obvious, but pretty hilarious if used in the right context. Now, you can simply use a violin playing morose classical music to respond to your friend’s overly dramatic story about missing pizza night, or tap the drum kit to emit that "badum-ch" sound whenever you hear a cheesy joke. Some of the other Soundmojis require a bit of pop culture knowledge to appreciate, like the green check mark that plays Ariana Grande’s "Thank U, Next." 

So far, it seems like Soundmojis might not be fully available outside of mobile. When a friend sent me a fart Soundmoji that worked in Messenger, it just displayed the classic air puff emoji and the text "(Sent with farting sound)" when I viewed it on my computer. 

Are Soundmojis Annoying? 

Sometimes too much expression—especially with sound—runs the risk of being annoying. That was my initial worry with Soundmojis before trying them. After all, the sheer thought of someone potentially bombarding your phone with 20 fart sound emoji during a meeting is nothing short of a nightmare. 

However, Facebook clearly thought about this when adding a crucial design feature to Soundmojis: You have to tap the image to produce the sound. This could be the saving grace that makes this feature fun instead of incredibly annoying; if you don’t really want to hear the evil laughing ghost again, all you have to do is refuse to interact with the image.

Is This the Next Emoji Trend? 

So, Soundmojis turned out to be way less annoying than I expected. But will they actually change the way we communicate? Yes and no. 

Wijeratne thinks Soundmojis will help us be more expressive and that more people will start using them, but doesn’t see them taking over emoji or language. One reason is emoji are standard Unicode characters supported across applications, while Soundmojis only work on Facebook Messenger. For now.

The introduction of sound into emoji says that we are exploring and heading into more expressive ways of non-verbal communication.

"While two people communicating on Facebook Messenger can certainly benefit from the expressive power of Soundmoji, the same Soundmoji character will not be available to you in your email client, text messaging app, or word processor," Wijeratne said. "Thus, even though Soundmoji becomes popular among Facebook Messenger users, it won't take over emoji, language, or other expressive content like GIFs and Stickers."

However, we very well could see more social media platforms rolling out similar concepts. 

"I think we are heading towards a messaging economy where more and more expressive power is given to the end-user, especially to minimize any gaps or limitations we saw with emoji," Wijeratne said. "So I wouldn't be surprised if I see more and more platforms follow this route and generate their own versions of Soundmoji-like emoji/sticker characters."

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