Video calling in Instagram and Messenger can now use your live avatar

Meta has announced a new feature that allows users to participate in video calls on Instagram and Messenger using their avatars. This functionality caters to situations where users may not feel camera-ready and provides an animated video call experience where participants can see and hear each other without revealing their actual appearances.

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In a blog post, Meta acknowledged common scenarios where users may not want to show their faces during video calls, such as when their hair is unkempt or after experiencing an emotional moment. The introduction of avatar-based video calls aims to offer a middle ground between having the camera on or off, enabling users to feel more present in the conversation through their Meta avatars.

While real-time calls using avatars may be a preferred option for individuals who want to maintain privacy during certain video calls, it can also be seen as an unconventional and eerie method of communication compared to traditional voice calls.

The new functionality is available on both iOS and Android platforms, ensuring accessibility for a wide range of users.

In addition to avatar-based video calls, Meta shared other updates related to avatars. They are testing a simplified avatar creation process on Facebook and WhatsApp, where users can take a live selfie and receive suggested avatar options generated based on their photo. Users can then select from these options and further personalize their avatars to accurately represent themselves.

Meta also introduced animated avatar stickers that can be shared on Instagram and Facebook Stories and Reels, Facebook comments, and one-on-one message threads on Messenger and Instagram. These stickers feature avatars performing various actions like waving hello, dancing, or slow clapping.

Furthermore, Meta is rolling out a feature called “Social Stickers,” allowing users to tag a few friends in Facebook Stories. This enables avatars of the user and their selected friends to appear together in a sticker, facilitating shared experiences within 1:1 message threads.

Meta’s avatar-related updates aim to enhance user engagement and self-expression across its platforms. The introduction of avatar-based video calls and animated stickers offers users alternative ways to communicate and connect, ensuring a more interactive and enjoyable experience.