Step aside Bitmoji as Facebook is now introducing its own set of Avatars

Facebook is rolling out an Avatar feature that will allow users to customize a virtual lookalike of them to use as stickers in chats and comments. They can customize the Avatar’s face, hair, and even clothes.

Once the user has personalized the Avatar, they will star in a range of frequently updated stickers to illustrate common emotions and phrases on Facebook – similar to Snapchat’s Bitmoji selfie stickers.

According to TechCrunch Facebook Avatar has been launched on Messenger and News Feed for the Australia-based users while it is expected that the feature will roll out globally in late 2019 or early 2020.

The feature will make Facebook more appealing, especially to teenagers who are slowly drifting away from the social media platform in search of more ‘cooler’ opportunities. And although Avatars might not be as cute or as hip as the Bitmoji, they are enough to add some spark to Facebook.

The communication manager for Facebook Avatar claimed that the team has put in a lot of effort in the product and design of the Avatars. They are offering something for all demographics by including religious clothing like hijabs and varying skin color tone.

How to add a Facebook Avatar

Once the Avatar feature is rolled out, the users will see a smiley-face button in the News Feed comment composer and Messenger sticker chooser. They simply have to tap on the same to create their Avatar.

Facebook introduces Avatars because every social media app needs its own Bitmoji wannabe

The creation process starts with a gender-neutral blank portrait that can be customized across 18 traits. All the personalization has to be conducted manually and as of now, there is no option to create an avatar using a selfie or Facebook profile pic. However, Facebook confirms that they are researching techniques that would allow them to automatically generate an avatar that is an ‘actual’ representation of the user.

Facebook also agrees not to monetize Avatars initially and there will be no sponsored clothing or accessories. But the company might consider the features in the future.

Facebook is also contemplating the idea of using Avatars as profile pics.

Unfortunately, Facebook Avatars are significantly late to arrive in the market. Although there was news that the social media giant was working on Facebook for a year, other platforms like Snapchat’s Bitmoji managed to gain a lot of ground in the meantime.

Bitmoji’s were introduced in 2014 while Snapchat acquired it 2 years later. Sensor Tower estimates that Bitmoji has been downloaded over 330 million times while it also boasts its own developer kit, merchandise, and even smartwatch faces.

Facebook also acknowledges that they have a lot of competition. However, the personalization of digital identity is in huge demand nowadays due to privacy issues.

Let’s wait to see how the audience reacts to the Avatar when it ultimately launches. Stay tuned with us for more updates.

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