In mid-May 2020, Facebook Avatars were introduced — an app function similar to the popular Snapchat-linked app Bitmoji.
However, a number of users reported inability to create a Facebook Avatar despite following the provided instructions to do so in circulating Facebook posts and in news articles (many of which didn’t clarify that the option had not yet been rolled out to everyone on the site.)
According to those articles and posts, users could create a Facebook Avatar by:
- Opening the Facebook app on their mobile device;
- Clicking the “hamburger menu,” the three lines seen at the bottom right of the screen;
- Scrolling to the option “See More”;
- Expanding “See More”;
- Clicking “Avatars.”
In comment threads and in articles, those were the primary directives to create a Facebook Avatar. If the instructions failed, users were advised to try the separate Facebook Messenger app, but detailed instructions were not commonly provided.
Searching for better instructions on how to create a Facebook Avatar if “See More” didn’t work seemed to indicate a lot of users were unable to create Facebook Avatars:
On Google Trends, searches for “Facebook Avatar” began appearing on May 15 2020:
The second of the five top related searches (right after “Facebook Avatar freckles”) was “no Facebook Avatar option,” followed by “no avatar on Facebook”:
That search followed a similar trend line:
On Reddit’s r/facebook, u/buybeverlyhills posted about being unable to access the Facebook Avatar option under the “three lines” menus:
Commenters on that post shared a number of purported fixes, all of which did not seem to work (and some of which represented a significant hassle). The options — most of which included data points from fellow users indicating they did not work — included:
- Turning on location services (users with location service turned on lacked the option, and turning it on did not seem to trigger access);
- Deleting and re-installing the Facebook app (we tried, it didn’t work);
- Logging out and logging in again;
- Manually updating the Facebook app from the App Store or in Google Play;
- Clicking on a friend’s Facebook Avatar and selecting “Get It” (an option that seemed to exist only for users with Facebook Avatar access already);
- Using Messenger’s “Stickers” option (no success was reported).
Based on a single Reddit thread, many Facebook users were unable to create a Facebook Avatar or lacked the option as of May 18 2020. The option to create a Facebook Avatar was seemingly not dependent on which handset was used, as users on identical handsets did not consistently have or not have the ability. It seemed that some were unable to manually trigger the Facebook Avatar creation option by any means, and the ability to use the function was dependent solely on when Facebook rolled it out to a specific user’s account.