Mark Zuckerberg releases new avatar after original version mocked online

Mark Zuckerberg’s first avatar

Meta’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was prompted to release a second avatar of himself last week, after his first avatar designed to promote the company’s Horizon Worlds project was widely mocked online for the quality of its graphics.

The first avatar showed an awkward looking Zuckerberg standing in front of the virtual Eiffel Tower and Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia. It was part of a screenshot from Horizon Worlds that Zuckerberg shared online on August 15 to promote the virtual reality platform’s launch in France and Spain. 

“Looking forward to seeing people explore and build immersive worlds, and to bringing this to more countries soon,” he wrote in a Tweet that included the screenshot.

The image quickly went viral online, with many Twitter users mocking and creating memes on the avatar’s low resolution and amateurish graphics. Some were also perplexed by Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision, as his company Meta, formerly Facebook, has staked its future on the success of the metaverse with billions of dollars already spent.

In an apparent attempt to remedy the situation, Zuckerberg shared an update on Facebook and Instagram on August 19, with a new, more refined avatar of himself and a rendering of an ancient Rome-style environment. 

He admitted that his first avatar “was pretty basic – it was taken very quickly to celebrate at launch.” He also promised that the graphics in Horizon are “capable of much more — even on headsets — and Horizon is improving very quickly.”

The parent company of Facebook changed its name from Facebook Inc. to Meta Platforms in October 2021 to “reflect its focus on building the metaverse.” 

In July, Meta reported its first year-on-year quarterly revenue decline. Revenue for the April-June period fell one per cent to US$28.82 billion from the same period in 2021. Zuckerberg said at the time that macroeconomic factors had an impact on digital advertising, one of Meta’s core business areas.