A New Instagram Update Adds More Features And Accessories To Avatars

A new update to Instagram now allows users to create newer avatars, with a wider selection of facial features, hair color, and accessories that can be filed through, as spotted by Technical Gulab.

Avatars are a relatively recent feature that have gained a lot of traction across the social network, and is probably one of the better interface updates to the platform in quite a while. Avatars, as I’m sure most of my readers are already familiar with, are virtual constructs of a user that can then be utilized in posts, Stories, Messenger, and even Stickers. When I say virtual construct, I should specify that the constructs aren’t exact, identical copies of the user at hand, or even reminiscent of the virtual influencers currently populating Instagram. They’re just cartoonish caricatures of a user that they themselves can create via accessing a wide selection of different features being placed onto a basic model. This does, however, raise some interesting discussions about how virtual and alternate reality are being constantly commodified and integrated into our surroundings, in ways both large and small.

There’s been a rather massive push towards AR/VR technology in recent times. While Oculus definitely paved much of the pathway that others stand on (even as it got acquired by Meta back in the day), AR and VR tech wasn’t really all that common or easily available. Now, however, things are changing since there are cheaper options that users can rely on for the likes of headsets. Social media platforms such as Snapchat are constantly investigating different angles via which AR technology can be implemented. Apple is hard at work developing its own AR/VR headset; one that the company expects to be released in 2022. However, perhaps an example of the AR/VR expanse most relevant to Facebook avatars is Meta’s creation of a Metaverse; a virtual reality world which doubles as a massive social media platform. There’s a very good chance that we’ll see Facebook avatars being incorporated there as well, giving users more of a reason to create their own virtual image as soon as possible.

I still think a massive amount of work needs to be done by Facebook for avatars. Specifically, these virtual constructs which are supposed to represent individuals are painfully limited, and I don’t mean technologically. I’m not asking for hyper-realistic depictions of users, but what I am stating is that different body types are absolutely not accounted for, with all avatars sharing similar slim physiques. If MMORPGs can offer up different body types to their users, I think it’s about time that Meta step up and offer more than just new accessories and hair colors in an update.

Read next: Virtual Influencers Are Rising In Popularity Across Meta’s Social Media Platforms, And Might Need Governing By The Company Itself
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