Facebook Knows How You Laugh On The Internet, And Apparently It Says A Lot About Who You Are

ByMehak Anwar

Facebook knows a lot about you, partially because you give it a lot of information about yourself and partially because Mark Zuckerberg and company have created mystical, secret algorithms that can do everything from recognize our faces to know exactly what products to recommend us. But now, in a social media advancement beyond anything I thought possible or necessary, Facebook might be able to recognize our laughs. Has technology gone too far? Maybe. Is this still a little bit cool? Definitely.

Some members of the Facebook research team posted a blog entry last week describing data they analyzed over the last week of May that pertained to expressions of laughter like "haha," "hehe," "lol," and emoji. They were looking to see if there were difference in laughter based off of demographic factors, as suggested by a New Yorker article published in April. In that particular week, 15 percent of comments or posts included some form of laughter — and Facebook found that there were, indeed, differences in what kind of laugh someone exhibited on the Internet based on their gender, geographic location and age.

These findings are actually pretty cool. For example, who knew that people in my hometown of Seattle preferr "haha," while New Yorkers on the other side of the country prefer using emoji? And that's not all we can take away from the research — here are five other things the analysis unearthed about our laughter:

1. Most people on the Internet say "haha."

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51 percent of people who laugh on Facebook use "haha," followed by 33.7 percent who use emoji, 13.1 percent who use hehe, and finally 1.9 percent who say "lol." As a "haha-er" myself, I can attest to the validity of these numbers.

2. "Hehe" and "lol" are used by older Facebook users.

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The median age for all the "hehe" users is about 26, while for "lol" users, it's about 28; however, the median age for emoji and "haha" users is between 21 and 23. So somehow, inexplicably, older users are saying "lol," even though younger people are blamed for overuse of the acronym. THE DATA DOESN'T LIE, PEOPLE.

3. Four-letter "hahas" and "hehes" are most common.

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Sometimes a Vine or anecdote is just really funny and you have to leave a "hahahahahahahah," but the researchers found that the majority of people use a simple, four-letter laugh. A six-letter hahaha is also very common, while "lol" almost always stands by itself.

4. Women prefer to laugh with emoji.

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Maybe because emoji convey a more nuanced way of laughter and happiness and women are fantastic communicators? Just a guess.

5. "Haha" and "hehe" are more popular on the West Coast.

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The Midwest, on the other hand, likes its emoji, and the South is into "lol." The East Coast is kind of a smorgasbord where people don't necessarily have a cohesive regional laugh.

It will be interesting to see if there's a correlation between how people laugh on the Internet and how they laugh IRL, but for now, it's pretty neat to know how to fit in regionally using different forms of internet Iaughter. Thanks, Facebook research team.

Images: Pexels; Giphy (5)