WhatsApp is getting Facebook’s Bitmoji-style avatars

Source: The Verge


After Facebook’s Bitmoji-style avatars invaded Instagram and Messenger, now they’re coming to Whatsapp, too. According to a report from WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is rolling out support for customizable avatars in the latest beta on Android, but only for some users.

Those with access to the feature will see a new “Avatar” category in their settings menu that they can use to customize the digital version of themselves. Just like on Meta’s other apps, WhatsApp will then generate a sticker pack with the avatar in various poses, which users can use to express themselves when messaging family and friends. WhatsApp is releasing the ability to set up an avatar to some lucky beta testers on WhatsApp beta for Android!

“An avatar is the best way to express yourself on WhatsApp: let’s configure an avatar so you can share personalized stickers with your friends.— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) October 21, 2022”

WABetaInfo first spotted the feature last month, but now it’s actually rolling out to users. It’s unclear when WhatsApp will roll out the feature to all users on Android, or when it plans on bringing the feature to iOS. Meta didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

Meta first introduced avatars on Messenger and the News Feed in 2019 before they became available to use in Facebook comments and stories in 2020. Earlier this year, the company gave its avatars a new 3D look and started letting users add them to feed posts, Facebook profile pictures, and Instagram Stories. At the time, Aigerim Shorman, Meta’s general manager for avatars and identity, touted the update as part of Meta’s efforts toward building out its idea of the metaverse, which not only includes virtual and augmented reality, but also bridges “more familiar platforms like your phone and computer.”

For more updates on networking industry, Click here.

Polygamists Demand New Relationship Status on Facebook

Sharing the information about every part of life in social media is a part of life these days or in other words being open about one’s personal relationship is the new normal. A letter by a group of “ethical non-monogamy” practitioners to Facebook’s parent company Meta is approaching to take this new normal to another level. They want their relationship status on Facebook to be represented by an option in the relationship status of their Facebook Profile.


Available Relationship Status Features


Currently Facebook has relationship status for singles and people who are either in a relationship or are married to someone. There is no provision for putting the names of more than one person with whom one is in a relationship with. According to a report by Engadget, “In a letter the Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-monogamy (OPEN) sent to the social media giant on Thursday, it said the current design of Facebook’s relationship status feature is “exclusionary” towards people who practice ethical non-monogamy. The group has asked that Meta allow users to tag all their romantic partners.” OPEN said “At best, this restriction perpetuates the erasure and marginalization of non-monogamous relationships; at worst, it harms non-monogamous users by perpetuating social stigmas around the validity and authenticity of their relationships,”


Available Open Relationship status on Facebook


According to The New York Times a spokesperson of the company said, “the company was reviewing the letter and noted that one of the statuses that users can choose on Facebook is “in an open relationship.” The change the petitioners are asking for would allow them to list all of their romantic partners.”

But the “ethical non-monogamy” practitioner are looking forward to get a new option where they can tag their multiple partners. Now it will be very interesting to see if Meta provides the same or makes some interim arrangement.

Facebook shows Inability to Manage User Data

Facebook’s inability to manage user data is reflected in a latest report. Facebook is reportedly unable to account for much of the personal user data under its ownership. This includes what it is being used for and where it’s located, according to an internal report leaked to Motherboard.


Facebook’s Commitment to Manage User Data


Privacy engineers on Facebook’s Ad and Business Product team wrote the report in 2021, intending it to be read by the company’s leadership. It detailed how Facebook could address a growing number of data usage regulations, including new privacy laws in India, South Africa and elsewhere. The report’s authors described a platform often in the dark about the personal data of its estimated 1.9 billion users.

The engineers warned that Facebook would have difficulty making promises to countries on how it would treat and manage user data of its citizens. “We do not have an adequate level of control and explainability over how our systems use data, and thus we can’t confidently make controlled policy changes or external commitments such as ‘we will not use X data for Y purpose,’” wrote the report’s authors. “And yet, this is exactly what regulators expect us to do, increasing our risk of mistakes and misrepresentation.”

Lack of Closed-form Systems


Facebook’s main obstacle to tracking down user data appears to be the company’s lack of “closed-form” systems, the report states. In other words, the company’s data systems have “open borders” that mix together first-party user data, third-party user data and sensitive data. To describe how difficult it is to track down specific Facebook’s data, the report’s authors came up with the metaphor of pouring a bottle of ink into a lake… and then trying to get it back in the bottle:

The authors state that Facebook previously had “the ‘luxury’ of addressing [new privacy regulations] one at a time,” like the EU’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act. But subsequent years brought more data protection legislation from all over the world, including India, Thailand, South Africa and South Korea. The document casts doubt on if Facebook has been able to comply with such legislation, and if it’s equipped to weather the “tsunami” of new laws that make similar restrictions. (A Facebook spokesperson denied to Motherboard that the company is not currently complying with privacy regulations.)


Also Read: What is new with Meta’s Horizon Worlds?