I love me some WordPress, but one recent update forced a little more bloat upon it’s users. I have no use for this feature, and most tutorials recommend using a plugin. Honestly, all you have to do is add the following snippet to your functions.php file:
Functions.php: A Word of Caution
Botching an edit to functions.php *will* cause your site to crash. While I don’t recommend that you edit a live site, most will. So use a text editor such as Atom, rather than the WordPress editor and upload your changes via SFTP or Git. Trust me on this one.
Hopefully you’re now well on your way to removing WP emojis without a plugin. Your page load speed will thank you, as removing emoji reduces the total request count on all of your pages by one. Every little bit counts.