Emojis are so 2014. Bitmojis have been the “in” thing in terms of expressing oneself on messenger sites and social media especially since Snapchat acquired the company back in 2016. Now it looks like Facebook will be attempting to get into the interest in these avatar-like characters by coming up with their own thing called, well, Avatars. However, they seem to be testing it out only in Australia so we’ll have to wait until a wider beta test to see if it can replace Bitmoji in our hearts (and our phones).
But if you live in Australia, according to Tech Crunch, you will now be able to play around with the Avatars in both your Messenger and your News Feed. If it’s already available for your account, you’ll see a smiley-face button in the News Feed comment composer and your Messenger sticker chooser. Tap on it and start creating your Avatar. You’ll get a gender-neutral blank slate to start things off and you’ll be able to customize it across 18 traits.
They’re also looking into the option of choosing your Avatar as your profile picture or in your Groups. You won’t be able to take a selfie or upload a photo and let it automatically generate one that looks like you. Instead, you still have to do it the old-fashioned way and hope that the customization options are wide enough that you’ll be able to get the best possible representation of yourself.
There are no plans just yet to monetize Avatars but knowing Facebook, it will eventually lead to that as well. The possibility of brands creating special items and people spending actual cash to add these to their avatars is highly probable. But the first question would actually be if this new feature will fly with users, especially given the general disillusionment that people feel about the social network giant.
In any case, only those in Australia will be able to use Avatar for now but everywhere else, we might start seeing them in our News Feeds. It’s expected that it will roll out to other countries by late 2019 or early 2020.