Meta announced that users can now use their avatars to answer and make video calls on Instagram and Messenger. The company says the new functionality will allow users to take part in video calls in instances where they’re not camera-ready. The result is an animated video call where you and your friends are looking and talking to each other, without actually seeing each other, TechCrunch reported.
The idea of real-time calls using your avatar could be a welcome addition for people who don’t want to show their faces on certain video calls, Tech Crunch noted. On the other hand, it can be seen as a somewhat odd and creepy way to communicate with friend or family member when you could just communicate via a voice call.
The new functionality is available now on both iOS and Android, TechCrunch reported.
Meta posted in its Newsroom an article titled: “Real-Time Avatar Calls For When You’re Not Camera-Ready And More” From the article:
Real-Time Calling With Avatars
We’ve all been there: A call comes in but your hair looks like a hot mess. Or you’ve just been bawling your eyes out while re-watching From Scratch for the umpteenth time (no judgement). Sometimes, we’re just not camera-ready.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a third option between camera-off and camera-on to let you feel a little more present on the call?
Cue your Meta Avatar. For the first time, we’re giving people using Messenger and Instagram access to real-time calling with Meta Avatars. Android or iOS, we’re phone agnostic. And if you haven’t called your friends as a llama, have you really even lived?
Avatar stickers have always been a great way to liven up a conversation, but sometimes a static image just feels a little… flat. Whether you want to give someone a thumbs up, applaud a witty one-liner, or facepalm when sharing an embarrassing story, we wanted to put a little more action in those action verbs and truly bring your convos to life.
You can share animated avatar stickers in Instagram and Facebook Stories and Reels, Facebook comments, and 1:1 message threads on Messenger and Instagram. From a jaunty wave hello or a slow clap of approval to showing off your avatar’s dance moves, there are plenty of ways to put your personality on full display…
Personally, when I read that Meta is allowing people to use their avatar as their representation of who they are, it made me think about people who are very shy, or people who are trans gender, who may not feel ready to show their face to online friends. Meta’s avatars could provide people with a more comfortable call with friends.
That said, the first thing I thought of when reading about the use of an avatar for phone calls reminded me of “The Jetsons” cartoon. There’s a scene where Jane is talking to a friend via a computer screen. Her friend’s mask falls off, and the friend quickly ends the call out of embarrassment.