Avatars, the customizable characters that are already available across Meta services like Facebook and Instagram, are officially launching on WhatsApp. Meta has announced that they can be used as a profile picture on the messaging service or sent in the form of one of 36 custom stickers. The feature “will be rolling out to users everywhere from today,” according to Meta’s press release.
WhatsApp’s avatars feature has been steadily rolling out to beta testers for a couple of months now. They’ve been available to some (but not all) beta users on both Android and iOS since at least October, according to WABetaInfo, but they’re expected to become available for all users on mobile over the coming weeks.
Meta’s avatars are one of a number of virtual customizable characters available across different platforms and messaging apps. Perhaps the most well known are Bitmoji, the 2D characters now owned by Snap, and both Apple and Samsung also offer system-level avatars in the form of Memoji and AR Emoji, respectively. But the feature could end up being the most significant for Meta, which is pitching its take on the feature as the thing that will one day represent its users in the so-called metaverse.