Meta now lets you make video calls using a cartoon avatar

No legs though.


It’s an open secret that not many people actually like video calling, unless you’re meeting a baby for the first time or something. Who wants to comb their hair just to answer the phone? Meta has answered our prayers and delivered a toolset that brings cartoon avatars to the world of video conferencing.

The company frames this as a “third option” that rests between an audio-only call and a full video call. You can participate in video conversations, but it’ll be your avatar that the other participants see, leaving you free to wear a luxuriating face mask or to lay in the squalor of an unkempt apartment. The feature’s available now for Messenger and Instagram users.

Meta’s been steadily placing the focus on its avatar-creation system, recently announcing that users have made over a billion of the lil cartoon scamps. The avatar creator allows for a near-perfect digital simulacrum of your actual face and body. The system was originally created for use in VR applications but has since moved to smartphones and the like.

It’s worth noting that the avatar creator lets you attach some legs to your digital self, but these legs won’t show up when making video calls (sorry, digital foot fetishists.) Meta says it’s constantly working to improve the avatar creation system, with more realistic and textured animations coming in the future. Also, there’s no rule that says your digital avatar has to look like you, so feel free to video call your friends as a talking llama.