Meta launches "18+" areas in Horizon Worlds
Meta's proto-metaverse Horizon Worlds still looks like Disneyland on steroids. That could change in the coming months and years.
My Disney comparison is intentional: Internally, Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth claimed late last year that the company's own worlds offered "almost Disney levels" of security as long as the Meta brand was above it.
Bosworth said that in the context of user behavior: He called toxicity and harassment in the Metaverse "existential threats." But different rules might apply to third-party worlds and spaces. Now, Meta is at least easing the rules for its own worlds.
Horizon Worlds is becoming more adult
Meta wrote an email to the creators of Horizon Worlds that from now on mature content will be allowed. The expansion of the rating system shows that Horizon Worlds could permanently offer more than Disneyland-compatible content.
Previously, creators were only allowed to publish content that was suitable for all age groups. This is now changing: Creators can choose whether their world is suitable for all age groups and mark it accordingly. If this is not the case, the world is automatically marked as "18+".
A little sexuality is all right
In the revised content guidelines for mature Horizon Worlds, Meta has removed bans on sexualized content, drugs like marijuana or alcohol, and explicit depictions of violence. With the age rating, this content is now okay - up to a point.
Sexual references such as "near nudity, depictions of people in implied or suggestive positions, or an environment focused on activities that are overly suggestive" are allowed by Meta.
Content tending toward pornography, however, is regulated: Prohibited are "nudity, depictions of people in explicit positions, or content or worlds that are sexually provocative or implied." A fine line and thus a challenging task in moderation.
Worlds that revolve around drugs, drug use and gambling are allowed, but this content must not be promotional in nature. As for violence, everything is allowed as long as no real violence is depicted.
Meta may be eyeing the VRChat community, one of the most successful social VR platforms, precisely because it is hardly regulated, knows no taboos about sexuality and drugs, and offers subcultures a space.