Meta Avatars Can Now Answer Your 'Video' Calls

Don't want to show your actual face on camera? Here's one answer.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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  • I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
Corinne Reichert
2 min read
Meta logo on a phone
James Martin/CNET

Meta has a new reason for you to create an avatar: so you can answer "video" calls when you don't want to show your own face to someone. 

From today, you can use your Meta avatar to answer calls on Messenger and Instagram on both Android phones and iOS devices.

"Sometimes, we're just not camera-ready," Meta said in an announcement Tuesday. "Wouldn't it be great if there were a third option between camera-off and camera-on to let you feel a little more present on the call?"

More than 1 billion Meta avatars have been created, according to the company.

Meta introduced avatars as part of its push into the metaverse. The emergence of the metaverse, which can be loosely described as a possible next step of the internet, where people will work, play games and socialize as avatars, led Facebook to change its company name to Meta in 2021.

Metaverse supporters like Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg see the metaverse as relying on AR glasses and VR headsets to let people interact with a 3D virtual world. But things haven't necessarily gone smoothly.

Read more: Best Phones to Buy in 2023

How to create an avatar on Instagram

If you don't yet have an avatar on Instagram (or didn't even know they existed), here's how to make one: 

  1. Open the Instagram app on your phone.
  2. In the bottom right corner, tap on your profile picture.
  3. In the top left under your profile picture, tap Edit profile.
  4. Tap Edit picture or avatar.
  5. Tap on the little avatar image to the right.
  6. Tap Create avatar.
  7. You can then customize your avatar with skin color; hairstyle; hair color; face shape; outfit; body shape; lip size and color; earrings; head wear; and facial hair.