Over the past few days, Facebook users may have noticed that some of their friends are sharing or posting the 8-ball emoji. The emoji has confused many people, as they want to know what it means, why it is suddenly getting so much attention, and why people are asking others to post it as well.

8-Ball Emoji
Kirstie_J / Pixabay

Facebook users puzzled by 8-ball emoji

Hundreds of thousands of people are updating their status on Facebook by just posting the 8-ball emoji. The status has no explanation or words, just an emoji. Even Reddit users have been debating the meaning behind the emoji. Many are wondering whether the 8-ball emoji is being used for an upcoming event or is a symbol created by a particular group.

It turns out that Dublin Live has just come up with the right answer. The actual reason behind posting and sharing this emoji is to spread an important message: awareness about prostate cancer.  The number 8 stands for the Gleason score in the second half of the cancer.

According to cancer.org, the lowest Gleason cancer score found on a prostate biopsy is 6. These cancers are less aggressive and are called low-grade or well-differentiated; however, if the Gleason score of cancer is 8 to 10, it may be called high-grade or poorly-differentiated.

How it all started

When many asked about the emoji, a Reddit user cleared up the mystery, saying, “Trying to raise awareness for prostate cancer can all you men (only men ) (i made this one up for you blokes) please put a 8-ball on your wall don’t comment then send this on to all your male mates,” he said.

Many people are now spreading the message to their male friends on Facebook, asking them to forward it to their male friends.

In the U.K., about 46,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, while 11,000 die from the disease, according to the Mirror. According to The Sun, a new treatment for men with enlarged prostates has been developed, and it can save many lives without the need for surgery.

This is not the first time a Facebook icon has been used to spread awareness about a deadly disease. In February, thousands of women shared the red heart emoji to spread awareness of breast cancer. In a similar campaign, users included a red ribbon in their profile picture to spread awareness of World AIDS Day.