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Facebook Continues Its Attack on Snapchat with Avatar

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Jun. 11 2019, Published 11:44 a.m. ET

Facebook builds in a playful selfie feature

Facebook (FB) has created a new feature that will let people create customized virtual lookalikes of themselves for use in chats and comments, according to a report from TechCrunch. The feature, known as Avatar, is seen as another challenge to its rival Snapchat, whose Bitmoji feature lets people create funny lookalikes of themselves for sharing across its Snapchat platform and other apps.

Facebook has duplicated several distinctive Snapchat features, thereby diminishing its rival’s appeal and helping its own apps in the tight competition for young social media users.

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Facebook boasts a massive audience that is powering its ad business

The Facebook Avatar feature has launched in Australia for users of Facebook’s flagship social network and Messenger app. The feature is expected to roll out in other markets later this year or in 2020. Facebook reaches more than 6.0 billion people worldwide across its family of social apps, which include Instagram, WhatsApp, and its namesake network. Facebook reaches 1.5 billion people daily through its flagship social network alone. Snap’s (SNAP) Snapchat and Twitter (TWTR) reach 190 million and 134 million people daily, respectively.

Facebook’s massive audience is the power behind its successful advertising business. The company generated $14.9 billion in advertising revenue in the first quarter compared to the ad revenue of $679 million generated by Twitter and $227 million generated by Yelp (YELP) in the same period. Snap doesn’t report its advertising revenue, but its total revenue was $320 million in the first quarter. Google (GOOGL) generated $30.7 billion in advertising revenue in the quarter.

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