TikTok’s $4 Billion Advertising Machine Is Messy Behind the ScenesRead More

An illustration of the new "personal boundary" system in Horizon Worlds. Credit: Meta.
Reality Check
Facebook AR/VR

Meta’s Personal Space Patch; PC VR Figures and an Earnings Roundup

By  |  Feb. 7, 2022 11:00 AM PST
Photo: An illustration of the new "personal boundary" system in Horizon Worlds. Credit: Meta.

To sell people on the potential of AR and VR, Meta Platforms has often referred to “superpowers” that the technology can grant people, such as teleportation. Meta wants people to embrace these ideas not as sci-fi fancies, but as shorthand for how people will go about their lives with the aid of the metaverse. But a problem arises whenever Meta tries to account for all-too-familiar indignities of digital life. The superpower fantasy begins to falter.

The recent announcement of a new “personal boundary” system for Horizon Worlds is a perfect example. With virtual groping emerging as one of many troubling and depressingly routine abuses in VR spaces, Meta is making an effort to build in a tool—a digital four foot barrier around users—for combating it. Yet that has sparked even more criticism. If Meta wants to get out of this cycle, bringing people’s expectations for the metaverse back down to earth is essential.

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