Facebook Avatars, which lets users customize a virtual lookalike of themselves for use as stickers in chat and comments, is now available across Europe, the company said today.
The social giant’s Avatars, a clone of Snapchat’s popular Bitmoji, was first unveiled last year. The feature, which Facebook sees as an expression tool, is aimed at making engagements on the social service fun, youthful, visually communicative, and “more light-hearted.”
Users can create their avatar from the sticker tray in the comment section of a News Feed post or in Messenger. A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch that Avatars was available in Australia and New Zealand prior to Tuesday’s announcement.
As my colleague Josh Constine wrote last year, “Avatars aren’t quite as cute or hip to modern slang as Bitmoji. But they could still become a popular way to add some flare to replies without resorting to cookie-cutter emoticons or cliche GIFs.”
Scores of companies including Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi have attempted to replicate Bitmoji feature in recent years — though no one has expanded it like Snapchat.
Earlier this year, Snapchat introduced Bitmoji TV, a series of 4-minute comedy cartoons with users’ avatars. At the time, Snapchat revealed that about 70% of its daily active users, or 147 million of its 210 million users, had created their own Bitmojis.
Facebook declined to share how users have received its Avatars so far.
“We don’t usually share specific stats for adoption but as we begin to roll it out more widely, we look forward to getting feedback from people using it in Europe so we can iterate on it and improve over time,” the spokesperson told TechCrunch.