Meta started rolling out its 3D avatars across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger in North America on January 31. However, not everyone’s happy.
Meta started rolling out its 3D avatars across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger in North America this week, but not everyone’s happy about the change. Facebook last year changed its name to Meta in a surprise move as part of its plans to escape media scrutiny and change the public narrative following whistleblower revelations by Frances Haugen.
Meta has also been focusing on creating the metaverse, a virtual-reality space in which people can interact with others in a computer-generated environment. The new 3D avatars are meant to be an essential part of the whole metaverse experience and will replace the existing avatars across all of Meta’s platforms whether users want them or not.
The new avatars enable people to use the same designs across all of Meta’s platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the Quest 2. According to an official blog post, the new avatars will be closer in appearance to actual faces, thanks to greater customization options for skin tones and expressions to « better reflect the billions of unique people on this planet. » Users will also be able to add wheelchairs, over-the-ear hearing aids, and cochlear implants as part of Meta’s efforts to be more inclusive and more true-to-life for a larger number of users. The company promised to add even more customization options to the Avatar Editor later in 2022.
Not Everyone Is Happy About The New Avatars
According to Meta’s general manager for avatars and identity Aigerim Shorman, Facebook will automatically update the avatars of people who have already created them on the platform. She further said that the algorithm will ensure that the new 3D avatars will respect the choices of the users, which means the new icons will largely be similar to the existing ones. However, that isn’t stopping people from venting their anger at the change. While some are expressing their dislike for the new designs, others are describing the new avatars as « weird and creepy. » Many are also angry at the fact that Facebook is automatically updating the avatars without giving them the option to stay with the existing ones.
Despite the widespread discontent at the change, Meta is unlikely to make a U-turn at this stage. The new 3D avatars are part of the company’s deliberate push into the metaverse and are now likely to stay will all users whether they like it or not. In fact, it has been in the works for at least around a year, if not more. As explained by Shorman, the company originally announced plans to introduce the new 3D avatars across all its properties in April 2021 when it first released its new avatars in VR. It took Meta around ten months to finally bring its plans to fruition, so the chances that the company is now going to give in to public demand and go back on its plans is next to none.
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