Meta’s adding some new safety elements to Horizon Worlds, with an update to its in-stream reporting options, and new explainers on how its safety controls work.
As outlined in the latest Horizon Worlds release notes, Meta’s making it easier to report users in the VR social environment, with a streamlined flow connected to each individual user.
As per Meta:
“Hovering over the nameplate of another person while you’re in Pause will open a shortcut menu to mute, block, or report them. Also when you enter Pause, it’s now easier to access your sound, safety, and profile settings.”
Reporting has become a key consideration for the VR world, as users can get overwhelmed by the sensory-simulated environment. Which can only be worse for mental health concerns, and as more and more of our social interactions become more enclosed, and more immersive, it seems inevitable that we’re going to face even more problems on this front.
Already, Meta has had to introduce more robust reporting and classification features in its VR social environment, as well as personal boundaries to ensure that people can avoid unwanted interaction in the space. It seems like a significant problem waiting to happen, yet, much like social media before it, I fear that we’ll only truly take such seriously in retrospect, once VR has already reached mass adoption, and the problems are happening in real-time.
In its defense, Meta is constantly building in new tools to address such.
Also in this new update, Meta’s adding new educational explainers on safety, and how to use the various safety controls in the VR space.
It is doing a lot to provide more options on this front, but it does seem like VR, which is even more consuming than social media, will subsequently have far more significant mental health impacts, for many people, as it gradually sees more adoption.
Are we ready for that? Are mental health services prepared for how VR immersion will cause more harm? Have we done all that we can to get ahead of such before the expanded metaverse push?
Again, it does seem like a lot of these issues will become a bigger focus in retrospect, which may be the only way it can happen. But it will be a significant side effect of the projected next wave of digital connection.