Where does come from?
The busts in silhouette emoji—also known as the shadows, silhouettes, or users emoji—was approved in 2010 as part of Unicode 6.0. While it slightly varies in appearance across platforms, almost all designs for the emoji feature two, gender-neutral, faceless busts in shadowy blue or gray hues.
Early in the 2010s, the emoji stood for "account users" on both specialized programs and on social media. This use is probably due to the fact that many platforms, like Facebook or iPhone contacts, display a generic silhouetted bust for a user who has not selected an image or icon for their account.
Because of its connection to social media, the busts in silhouette emoji extended to one's friends, social network, or contacts online. This use further expanded to acts like tagging, following, and retweeting on social media.
— Tinkla🇿🇦 (@Bonani_Ngqobo) May 5, 2018
By 2017, many people noticed that, on most emoji platforms, busts in silhouette emoji looks one of the figures is lurking behind the other. This appearance inspired people to use the emoji to suggest something as "creepy," using it to symbolize a stalker or something scary.
— Jenny 🍀🍁☕ (@jenny_irish86) August 18, 2017
Who uses ?
Among software and digital internet face designers, busts in silhouette emoji is sometimes used alongside webpage content dealing with account users, user management services, members of a group, or group functionality. For instance, the software company Rabbit announced it was offering "Groups! 👥" in a blog update. Other websites employ the busts in silhouette emoji for getting connected.
In some instances, the emoji can stand for the word people entirely.
Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed 👥 can change the 🌎; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. pic.twitter.com/EyJYqMgq6W
— Harmony Dust (@HarmonyDust) August 30, 2016
The arrangement of two busts suggests a "face-off" or "competition" to others ...
“ IM GONNA PUNCH TEN BELLS OUTTA DAVID HAYES FACE!”/ REACTS TO HAYE GETTING TOO CLOSE DURING FACE OFF 👥👇🏼
— Behind The Gloves (@BehindTheGloves) May 3, 2018
Or, sometimes, "togetherness."
#VaccinesWork to save and improve lives
Yet 1 in 7 children don't have access to life-saving immunizations😥
— WHO Timor-Leste (@WHOTimorLeste) May 8, 2018
The emoji is even used to signal a "split" in a relationship—or even of a personality.
— A24 (@A24) August 30, 2016
More commonly, though, the busts in silhouette emoji means someone is acting like a "stalker" or "creeper" (slang for a person who keeps showing unwelcome interest in another):
— nobody (@JalenHenderson) February 25, 2016
Finally, because it's a common trope in horror movies to show a killer creeping on their victim from behind, the busts in silhouette emoji is used in reference to horror movies and, by extension, anything scary.
horror movie sunday 👥 pic.twitter.com/SZNVIfz0Vp
— Sophia Carrino (@osnapitzsophi) April 26, 2015
"Nothin is Uglier than a Two-Faced MAN…👥" -Imam Ali (AS)
@Binte_Hawwa, May, 2018
F😱 ck Yeah!!! 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥 👥👥 👥 👥 👥Do you want to be a part of our system? Participate, share, learn, interact with great coaches and most importantly- great, supporting individuals?
House of Tengu, Facebook, March, 2017
There are three main groups of people which influence my work [as a web designer] […]: Users 👥. These are people who USE product. In the example of Facebook, a user would be someone who has an account.
Philip Ardeljan, Medium, May, 2017