Meta is adding a “personal boundary” feature after a woman reported she was “virtually gang-raped” in the company’s Horizon Worlds VR game.
The new “personal boundary” feature will prevent other users from “invading your avatar’s personal space.” That way, if someone is too close to an avatar, the system will remove any forward movement from the avatar.
Meta says, “if someone tries to enter your Personal Boundary, the system will halt their forward movement as they reach the boundary. We believe Personal Boundary is a powerful example of how VR has the potential to help people interact comfortably.”
The feature will reportedly kick users away if they are within four feet of your “personal boundary.”
As previously reported, Nina Jane Patel, 43, claimed she was sexually harassed and “virtually gang-raped” within 60 seconds of joining the metaverse.
“Within 60 seconds of joining — I was verbally and sexually harassed — 3-4 male avatars, with male voices, essentially, but virtually gang-raped my avatar and took photos — as I tried to get away, they yelled — ‘don’t pretend you didn’t love it’ and ‘go rub yourself off to the photo.”
Following Patel’s experience, she called on Meta to change its policies and introduce anti-harassment features. She also alluded to harassment in the metaverse being a particular pattern.
“Harassment in the metaverses is a serious issue that the industry needs to come together on to put in place the correct security controls and safety measures,” she told the NY Post.