Meta has rolled out a new text-based "world chat" feature for its VR-based Horizon Worlds, in an effort to make the platform more social. This feature allows users in the same world session to send messages to each other. While a voice chat option already exists, the new feature resembles a conventional text messaging app.
The new chat feature allows users to interact with others in their world session. Messages directed at specific users appear as floating bubbles in their own view, and upon clicking, a new chat opens. Users can also connect with or follow others in a chat by clicking on the individual's name to view their profile and send a connection request. The feature also supports @mentions in the world chat and quick replies for ease of use.
Alongside the world chat feature, Meta introduced tools to foster a positive community experience. It automatically scans and removes messages that violate its code of conduct. It also introduced a blur feature for chats, obscuring messages from unknown users and presenting their own messages to others in a blurred format. Users have the option to report, block, or mute anyone, as well as to minimize or hide the chat window.
For teens aged 13-17, the blur setting is automatically enabled. In addition, Meta is expanding parental supervision tools, allowing the modification or locking of blurred chat settings to ensure an age-appropriate chat experience for their kids.
The launch of these features follows concern from US senators about the opening of Horizon Worlds to younger teens. However, Meta has committed to implementing age-appropriate tools and protections, stating the importance of tailoring experiences to the unique vulnerabilities of teens. These developments come shortly before the unveiling of Meta's Quest 3 mixed reality headset, a week before the anticipated launch of Apple's Vision Pro.