Imagine this scenario: You're sitting at home, engrossed in your favourite show, or doom-scrolling Instagram or TikTok, when suddenly, your phone rings. Panic sets in as you realize you're not exactly looking your best. Your hair is in disarray, and you're definitely not camera-ready and the thought of appearing on a video call is horrifying.

But what if there was a magical middle ground? A solution that allowed you to feel present on the call without exposing your disorganised state to the world?

Enter the innovative concept of Meta Avatars, that will help you express yourself in digital spaces in new ways. For the first time, Meta (formerly Facebook) is giving people using Messenger and Instagram access to real-time calling with Meta Avatars on both Android and iOS. This feature will allow you to appear as any cartoon image you chose, be it a person or an Ilama.

To make the process of creating an avatar easier, Meta has introduced a new feature on Facebook and WhatsApp. You can take a live selfie, and within seconds, the platform will generate suggested avatar options based on the selfie. You can then choose from these options and further personalize your avatars to accurately represent yourself.

In addition to the on-call avatars, Meta is also introducing animated avatar stickers for Instagram and Facebook Stories and Reels, Facebook comments, and one-to-one message threads on Messenger and Instagram. Similar to what you've seen on Snapchat, the animated avatar stickers can also add to the liveliness and fun of conversations by allowing your avatar to interact with a friend's avatar, as stickers.

Two people on Facebook commenting with animated avatar stickers

Notably, the appearance of these avatars will be standardized across all Meta platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. This means that how users' avatars appear in the Metaverse virtual reality (VR) world will match their appearance on other platforms.

The avatar system is an essential component of Meta's broader metaverse plan. The metaverse is a virtual reality space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users in real-time.