Facebook’s Breakdown of How People Express Laughter has Surprising Results


People on the internet laugh in different ways “haha” “hehe” “lol” and using emojis. Facebook was curious about the whole internet laughing ways and decided to conduct research on it. Facebook decided to analyze posts on their site in the last week of May where they identified key words that express laughter, which were variants of haha, lol, hehe and emoji.

In summary, results from the research were quite interesting:

  1. 15% of people included some form of laughter in their posts.
  2. The most common form of laughter is haha, followed by the various laughter emojis then hehe.
  3. In the demographic aspect (age and gender), younger people & women prefer emojis whereas men prefer longer hehes.
  4. 46% of people posted only a single laugh during the week.
  5. 85% of people analysed posted fewer than five laughs.
  6. 52% of people used a single type of laugh.
  7. Roughly 20% used two different forms of laughter.

One statistic that was generated from the data is the breakdown of use of the various form of laughter (haha, lol, hehe & emoji). It was clear most people use haha & emojis the most which was a combined 85.1% of the total

Courtesy: Facebook

Sarah Larson from The New Yorker  had written an article about the same topic about haha vs hehe where she said that “The “ha” is like a Lego, a building block, with which we can construct more elaborate hilarity. ” Facebook came up with a graph that visually describes how people are inclined to use these “blocks” in multiples.

Courtesy: Facebook
Courtesy: Facebook

As you can see, people tend to use 4-6 haha’s in posts, 3 lol’s and weirdly only 1 laughing emoji on Facebook, which apparently was only used 50% of the time.( Side Note: On Twitter, people definitely use way more laughing emoji). Facebook also found, as they termed them “rare specimens” of lol which were lolz and loll, probably used by teens trying to sound cool. From the graph, they cut the number of letters being analyzed to 20 letters, but the internet being what it is, they found a haha that was over 600 letters long.

Courtesy: Facebook
Courtesy: Facebook

When it comes to the use of hahas & hehes, men tend to use it more but when it comes to using emojis & lols, women take the lead here, not surprising at all. This information could be true for users from other social networks.

On the internet, showing laughter could actually be the real deal or just a show of acknowledging the post (especially lols), which this research didn’t show, but this Facebook research can inspire other social networks to come up with such data so that we can make comparisons across the social media landscape.

Source: Facebook Research