Facebook Avatars set to Rival SnapChat Bitmoji

Facebook are testing a new feature which gives users the option to create a custom emoji to use in stickers and messages
Facebook's early experiments with Avatars mostly revolved around VR (credit: UploadVR)
Facebook Avatar could be coming to Android and iOS devices in the near future.

Inspired by Snapchat’s Bitmoji, this new feature will allow users to create custom emoji avatars in their likeness.

What is Facebook Avatar?

Discovered in the latest Android Facebook builds by Jane Manchun Wong, the feature is currently in testing and locked for users of the popular social media website.

Screenshots suggest that the first stage will be to create your likeness; whether this will be done via the camera and facial recognition software, or by simply using a editor is yet to be seen.

Once created, the Facebook Avatar can then be used with custom stickers which can be used in comments or posts. You can even use these stickers in your own private messages and chats.

You will also have the option to edit your avatar, which suggests that you can constantly update your look. What customisation offers are on offer are yet to be disclosed. Facebook have confirmed to Techcrunch that they are indeed testing the feature, but as yet have unspecified a launch date.

Facebook have a history of testing this Avatar feature for other services, as they demonstrated 3D VR avatars at F8 2018, which used AI and machine vision to generate an avatar. As seen with other products that offer a character creator (like Mii in Nintendo 3DS) these facial recognition face builders can often be hit and miss.

Facebook Avatars: A Bitmoji Beater?

Snapchat acquired the Bitmoji app when it purchased tech company Bitstrips back in 2016. The concept of the Facebook Avatar is almost identical to Bitmoji, which allows users to create little cartoon likenesses that can be used as part of messages.

The feature has been further enhanced by connecting the services to Snapchat, allowing users to place the Bitmojis in snaps - and earlier this year a deluxe version of Bitmoji was rolled out.
Tom Blackwell 12 Jul 2018

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