The use of “laugh out loud” or LOL, the diminutive expression of amusement popular in text messages and social media, has dropped significantly and has been replaced by “haha,” emoji and “hehe,” a study by Facebook Inc revealed last week. The way people laugh online also varied across age, gender and location, the study found.

In May, Facebook examined posts and comments by Americans on the social networking site. It found that only 1.9 percent of people used LOL compared to 51.4 percent who preferred "haha." The second widely used online laugh was emoji, which is a small digital image or icon, with 33 percent of people using it. "Hehe" grabbed the third spot with 12.7 percent.

The study found that men mostly used "haha" or "hehe," while women preferred articulating their emotions using emoji. Facebook also found that LOL was popular among older users, whereas youngsters mostly preferred emojis. In terms of geography, people from Chicago topped in emoji usage and those from Seattle expressed their laughter through “haha.”

Facebook, which also noted that people might express themselves differently in private chats, said it did not use its Messenger service for the study.