Facebook’s parent Meta Platforms has introduced a tool to enable users to maintain personal space boundaries while interacting within the metaverse. The move comes amid concerns for user safety and sexual harassment in the virtual reality space.
The new ‘personal boundary’ feature will allow users to maintain nearly four feet or 1.2 meters of distance between others and their virtual avatar while accessing the immersive Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues apps through VR headsets.
The company explained that the new default setting would make it easier to avoid unwanted interactions. The users of VR platforms, including Horizon Worlds, had raised alarms about virtual groping and other abusive behavior, prompting the company to introduce the feature.
The tool is built on the company’s ‘hand harassment measures,’ which will make an avatar’s hands disappear if they invade someone’s personal space. It also incorporates a ‘Safe Zone’ feature that enables users to create a bubble around their avatar.
Meta’s Vice President of Horizon, Vivek Sharma, stated in the blog that the company believed the new personal boundaries would help establish ‘behavioral norms.’
“It’s an important step, and there’s still much more work to be done. We’ll continue to test and explore new ways to help people feel comfortable in VR,” he said.
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