The world is currently in a strange place with the coronavirus pandemic wreaking chaos on society and the economy, and a whole suite of political problems and issues making life feel like a swirling mix of things to get your head around or parse on Twitter. As such, the more mundane world of Facebook, with friends posting updates about a particular load of bread they’ve made under lockdown or a vague opinion on the latest HBO hit TV show, might offer some people a blessed escape from reality.
And thanks to Facebook Avatars, there’s now a new feature for you to while away the waking moments playing with. Facebook Avatars are essentially the social network’s take on Bitmojis. Using Facebook Avatars, you can create an avatar for your Facebook profile that allows you to reimagine yourself as a custom cartoon-esque character. You can either embrace reality and make an avatar that’s unmistakably you. Or you could embrace the madness of 2020 and create an avatar that’s miles away from what you look like the physical world.
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You can then use the avatar to create custom stickers that correspond to pre-formulated reactions. For example, you can have your avatar express laughter by rolling around in mirth or have your cartoon creation express sadness by bawling its eyes out
Currently, these avatars can only be used with the pre-formulated stickers, so are somewhat limited in scope. But they can be used in Messenger and to comment on Facebook posts, which should offer a little more flourish with how you express yourself on the social network.
How to make a Facebook Avatar
1. Login or set up a Facebook account
The first thing you’ll need to do to get on your way towards having a Facebook Avatar is to log into your Facebook account via the Android or iOS app. If you don’t have the app, it’s easily downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.
2. Open the Facebook app menu
You’ll need to either tap on the three lines that represent the menu options in the Facebook app or swipe right a few times to access the menu option.
3. Select 'Avatars'
Once you're in the app menu, you’ll be shown a suite of options. Tap the ‘see more’ button, and you’ll see an ‘Avatars’ option. Tap on that.
4. Start creating your Facebook Avatar
Once you’re in the Avatars section, the rest of the process to create your Facebook Avatar is a simple case of following the on-screen instructions.
These will prompt you to start with your avatar’s skin tone, then will move onto hairstyle selection.
After that, you'll then be able to choose your eye color, eyebrows shape, face shape, facial hair and other attributes that define one's face. You can also select whether you want your avatar to wear glasses or lipstick.
And once you're done with creating your avatars head and face, you then have the option to choose your body shape and clothing style. And finally, you'll be able to select some form of headwear if you're feeling hat inclined.
Once you’re done, hit next and your avatar will be ready for use. It’s really that simple; there’s no need to upload photos or give Facebook any access to your data.
And you should then end up with an Avatar that's a rough approximation of yourself if that's what you're after; you can create any Avatar you like after all.
How to use your Facebook Avatar
So you have your Facebook Avatar created and ready to go; the next step is to use it. And that’s pretty easy as well.
You can share your Avatar on Facebook where it'll appear in your friends' News Feed. But Facebook will also create a set of pre-determined reaction stickers, used to express your feelings and sentiments towards a post or something in your Facebook feed or a chat with a Facebook friend. These vary from a simple thumbs up to popping a champagne cork or lying coquettishly by an open fireplace with a rose between your Avatar’s teeth.
1. Use your Facebook Avatar in comments
When you want to use your Avatar to express your thoughts on a post, simply tap the comment button and then the emoji button where you’ll be presented with your own avatar stickers, as well as the option to use standard emojis as well.
In the web version of Facebook, you’ll be able to do this a little more succinctly by clicking on the sticker button, where you’ll then be presented with your Avatar stickers as well as other more generic stickers.
2. Use Facebook Avatars in Messenger chats
You can also do the same for chat messages on the web version of Facebook. When you have a chat window open, click on the stickers button, which will present a suite of stickers to use. Then click on the icon that shows your Facebook Avatar, which will serve up a menu of custom Avatar stickers to use.
And the Avatar reaction stickers also work in the Messenger app. Simply tap on the emoji button in the chat bar, then tap on the stickers menu and swipe right to access your Avatar stickers, and you'll have a whole load of them to use to your heart's content.
That's about it. Facebook Avatars is still rolling out across the world, and there's a good chance the Avatars and the reaction stickers could be used in other Facebook-owned services. But we'll need to wait and see what Facebook does next.