Written by Joey Peng, Benn Tan and Erasmus William.

Facebook Avatars officially launched in the US

Avatars; Facebook’s custom feature that allows you to customize a virtual character of yourself for use as stickers in comments and Messenger chats, has officially launched in the U.S. This feature had been previously made available in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Canada since its initial introduction last year. Updated, the feature has also expanded its range of customization including a myriad of new hairstyles, complexions, and outfits.

Users will get to set up their avatar by clicking on the smiley face icon that leads to stickers, in either Facebook or Messenger comment composer. There, the option: “Make Your Avatar” will be available. Upon completion, they will be available for use in Facebook comments, Messenger, and even on your Gaming profile. There has been talk of it being available for use in text posts with backgrounds soon. Even after setting up your avatar, it will remain editable and customizable under Facebook’s Bookmark section.

Custom digital personifications have seen wide-scale popularity even before 2016, when Snapchat picked up Bitmoji’s parent company Bitstrips. In January, Snap said up to 70% of its daily active users have made themselves an avatar- an astounding 147 million users.

You can now share your Instagram Live Broadcasts to IGTV

Instagram has officially announced that all users can now save their Instagram Live broadcasts to IGTV, allowing their followers to view these videos for as long as they choose.

Up till now, Instagram Live broadcasts were only available to viewers during their broadcast (when the ‘Live’ marker appears on the users’ Stories bubble).

Originally, users could save their broadcast on their camera roll and later re-upload as they see fit, but now they’ll be able to send the video directly to IGTV, which would provide many benefits in the near future, considering Instagram’s focus on the development of the IGTV platform.

For example, this could provide an easy way to build your IGTV content library, and with Instagram recently launching monetization options for the platform, this could provide another means to both tap into rising interest in IGTV while facilitating a revenue option via your own content.  

Another way to look at this is – if you’ve already created the video, why not maximize it by reposting the video to IGTV, thereby enabling more views? 

There are, however, some limitations such as being unable to edit your video before sharing to IGTV. Also, it’s worth considering what the impacts of not having the original Likes and comments might be.

Facebook Acquires the Internet’s Favourite GIF Library, GIPHY.

As confirmed by both companies on Friday, Facebook has acquired Giphy, a popular GIF database and also commonly used within Instagram stories. On that note, Giphy is becoming part of the Instagram team, and its GIF library will continue to be operational and usable on partnering apps and platforms. This addition to the platform will also make it easier for users to find the perfect GIF and stickers to apply to the stories. 

According to Facebook, the company says that fully 50% of traffic that Giphy receives already comes from Facebook’s apps, including Instagram, Messenger, the FB app itself and Whatsapp.

This acquisition gives Facebook control on how this GIF bank keeps users engaged across its various applications, and also provides valuable data on the GIPHY sharing ecosystem.

Disclaimer: Featured image taken from Techcrunch.