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Facebook cloning Snapchat’s Bitmoji with Facebook Avatars

Facebook will soon begin public testing of a make-your-own-Emoji feature called Facebook Avatars. It's just like Bitmoji, but Facebook.

Published onMay 8, 2018

facebook avatars
  • Inside the Facebook Android app is dormant code that points to something called Facebook Avatars.
  • Facebook Avatars are like Bitmoji, but for Facebook.
  • The social network confirmed that Facebook Avatars are real, and will begin public testing soon.

When you want to add an Emoji to a Facebook post or comment, you have a limited selection of choices. Not only is the range limited, but they are the same Emoji that everyone else uses. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make your own Emoji of yourself and use that instead?

If you just thought to yourself, “Yeah, that’s what Bitmoji does,” you’re absolutely right. But Facebook is apparently just catching on to the Bitmoji trend as it looks like the social network giant will roll out its own version of Bitmoji called Facebook Avatars.

See the full list of 161 new Emoji icons coming in 2018
new 2018 emojis

A developer named Jane Manchun Wong found some code in the Facebook Android app that pointed to Facebook Avatars. She shared her find with Tech Crunch, which coincidentally wrote up a piece about why Facebook needs its own Bitmoji back in October.

facebook avatars

The code is dormant in the app, so Facebook Avatars are not yet accessible. Tech Crunch reached out to Facebook to get a comment on the find, and remarkably the company confirmed that Avatars are definitely coming. However, Facebook said the feature is in the early stages and hasn’t even begun public testing.

The Facebook rep said that the company is “looking into more ways to help people express themselves on Facebook.”

Theoretically, using Facebook Avatars will not be much different than using Emojis on the social network. You’ll be able to make your Avatar look happy, sad, confused, angry, excited, etc., and use it in place of text to express yourself.

AR Emoji vs Animoji: The differences explained

The only real question is how you will create your Avatar? Will Facebook use artificial intelligence to scan your photos and create what it thinks is your face? Or will you build your own Avatar from scratch using pre-formatted templates?

The company would likely be asking for trouble if it had Avatars automatically create themselves, as it could lead to some horrible PR if users’ faces came out looking weird. It could also happen that racial insensitivity could come into play if an Asian person’s Avatar looked Caucasian, or something along those lines. With that in mind, Facebook would likely let you create your own Avatar with a little AI assistance.

Once Facebook makes an official announcement about Avatars, we’ll let you know. But since public testing hasn’t even begun, it will likely be a while before that happens.

NEXT: British adults think Emoji are bringing down the English language

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