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Snapchat Adds New Assistive Device Animations for Bitmoji Characters to Maximize Inclusion

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Snapchat Adds New Assistive Device Animations for Bitmoji Characters to Maximize Inclusion


Snapchat has taken more steps to maximize inclusion in its Bitmoji avatars, with the addition of new types of assistive devices for Bitmoji characters.

As explained by Snapchat:

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded our representation options by adding the top three most requested assistive devices to Bitmoji and Snapchat: hearing aids, cane stickers, and wheelchair poses for Profiles. Now, in the latest version of Snapchat, our community can see themselves in 3D poses with a wheelchair on their Profile – or choose a hearing aid in a variety of colors, with flexible options to be worn on one ear or both. We’ve also added a selection of our most popular Bitmoji stickers featuring the avatar with a cane.”

Facilitating more inclusion is an important step for Bitmoji, especially given Snap’s vision of Bitmoji characters to become ‘the world’s avatar’, available for use in a wide range of applications.

Digital avatars are set to become a critical element in the coming metaverse shift, with the vision being that, eventually, we’ll all be represented by character depictions in AR and VR environments. And while Bitmoji has predominantly been a 2D option up till now, Snap’s also looking to adapt the tool to enable people to use their Bitmoji representations in these new and emerging environments.

Snapchat 3D Bitmoji

That also ties into Snap’s evolving efforts to facilitate sales of digital clothing, and provide retailers with new ways to promote their products via digital versions of their items that can be fitted to Bitmoji characters.

Snapchat Bitmoji clothing

Right now, that largely aligns with the sale of real-world items – you put the clothes that you’d like to own in real life onto your Bitmoji character, and Snap is integrating buy options into these digital item displays to facilitate offline purchase.

See also  Snapchat launches augmented reality tool Shopping Lenses

But eventually, digital clothing will become a marketplace of its own, and Snap’s already well advanced in its plans to enable retailers to sell virtual items within the Snap platform.

Which, again, is why maximizing inclusion is important, in order to provide more comprehensive options to create your virtual self.

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And they’re already proving popular – according to Snap, its stickers depicting Bitmoji charaters in wheelchairs, which it launched last March, have already been shared over 30 million times.

“Through the launch of these stickers, we’ve seen positive reactions and engagement with our products, and received additional feedback from people who wanted to see themselves in more parts of Snapchat.”

It’s a logical and positive advance for Snap’s Bitmoji tools, which will become more significant, and prevalent, over time.



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Murdered rapper’s song pulled from YouTube in India

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Sidhu Moose Wala's murder sparked anger and outrage from fans from across the world

Sidhu Moose Wala’s murder sparked anger and outrage from fans from across the world – Copyright AFP Narinder NANU

YouTube has removed a viral music video in India released posthumously by murdered Sikh rapper Sidhu Moose Wala following a complaint by the government.

The song “SYL” talks about the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal which has been at the centre of a long-running water dispute between the late Sikh rapper’s home state of Punjab and neighbouring Haryana.

The track, released posthumously on Thursday, also touches on other sensitive topics such as deadly riots targeting the Sikh community that broke out in India in 1984 and the storming of an important Sikh temple in Amritsar by the army the same year.

It had garnered nearly 30 million views and 3.3 million likes on the singer’s YouTube page before it was pulled down over the weekend.

“This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government,” said a message posted on the song link.

The song is still available in other countries.

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In an email to AFP, a YouTube spokesperson said it had only removed the song in “keeping with local laws and our Terms of Service after a thorough review”.

The government did not immediately respond to enquiries.

Moose Wala’s family termed the removal of the song “unjust” and appealed to the government to take back the complaint, local media reports said.

“They can ban the song but they cannot take Sidhu out of the hearts of the people. We will discuss legal options with lawyers,” uncle Chamkaur Singh was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times daily.

See also  YouTube Adds New Filters to its Video Performance Chart, Enabling More Specific Data Context

Moose Wala — also known by his birth name Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu — was shot dead in his car in the northern state of Punjab last month.

The 28-year-old was a popular musician both in India and among Punjabi communities abroad, especially in Canada and Britain.

His death sparked anger and outrage from fans from across the world.

Last week, Indian police arrested three men accused of murdering Moose Wala and seized a cache of weaponry including a grenade launcher.

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The men had allegedly acted at the behest of Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar and his accomplice Lawrence Bishnoi who is currently in jail in India.

Moose Wala rose to fame with catchy songs that attacked rival rappers and politicians, portraying himself as a man who fought for his community’s pride, delivered justice and gunned down enemies.

He was criticised for promoting gun culture through his music videos, in which he regularly posed with firearms.

His murder also put the spotlight on organised crime in Punjab, a major transit route for drugs entering India from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Many observers link the narcotics trade — mostly heroin and opium — to an uptick in gang-related violence and the use of illegal arms in the state.

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