WhatsApp starts rolling out 3D avatars • TechCrunch

WhatsApp has started rolling out 3D avatars for its users around the globe that can be used as profile photos or custom stickers — months after their debut on Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.

On Wednesday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook that avatars are coming to WhatsApp. The announcement follows a months-long beta testing that was first reported by WhatsApp beta tracker WABetaInfo in June.

In a blog post, WhatsApp said that users could use personalized avatars as their profile photo or choose from one of 36 custom stickers reflecting different emotions and actions. Avatar stickers on WhatsApp look similar to Snap’s Bitmoji or Apple’s Memoji stickers.

“Your avatar is a digital version of you that can be created from billions of combinations of diverse hair styles, facial features, and outfits,” the company behind the popular instant messaging app said.

WhatsApp also said that users would get style enhancements including lighting, shading and hair style textures over time.

Users will be able to create their avatars on WhatsApp — once rolled out — by going to the Settings menu. The messaging app will also get a ‘Use Avatar’ option in the profile photo settings to let users make their virtual lookalike as a profile photo, per the details available on an FAQ page.

In 2019, Meta introduced Bitmoji-style 3D avatars to Facebook and Messenger. The initial rollout was limited to markets including Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Canada, though the social networking giant later expanded its presence to the U.S. in 2020. Instagram also received avatars in late January.

At this time, it’s unclear whether WhatsApp avatars are limited to the instant messaging app or shared across several Meta services. We’ve reached out to WhatsApp to clarify this point.

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