Facebook wants a second hand in the VR interaction pot and they’re looking to do so with their upcoming service billed as “Horizon.” The VR chat app or platform will sport a fully paid staff of Facebook employees known as “Guides” to help new players, while built-in blocking tools are said to rid the application of “trolls.”
Moreover, at Horizon’s core, the VR space sees people interacting with each other all over the world while creating stuff. This new social VR world set to hit Oculus Quest and the Rift platform sometime in 2020 is currently in beta as per oculus.com.
If for some reason you choose to join this current year VR experience, do know that according to Ars Technica (archive.org) Facebook AR/VR content marketing head, Meaghan Fitzgerald, there will be measures to prevent abusive behavior:
“[…] FB will rely largely on built-in blocking and reporting tools to assess whether or how users might be restricted for abusive behavior.”
Later, Fitzgerald attempted to make the Guides sound like a hands-off group of people that act as an instructor by saying, “We are not going to be moderators.” She would also say that the Guides aren’t going to “enforce rules,” but according to Facebook’s AR/VR experiences director, Eric Romo, he tells Ars Technica that these Guides are tone police workers in disguise:
“You’ll encounter humans that are part of our team in the product, known as Guides. Those are the people who will be trying to set the tone of what the environment is.”
Looking to mesh her story with Romo’s description, Fitzgerald later chimed in to say the following:
“But [Horizon Guides] model the behavior. People who come into these environments—a lot of research shows they’re not intending to go in—sometimes they are, sometimes people want to cause trouble. But more often, they don’t know how to behave. If you see someone running around and screaming, you’re going to run around and scream. If you see someone having a conversation about, ‘Hey, here’s a new activity, want to go check it out?’, that changes the tone of the space. People are really influenced by that.”
In other words, Fitzgerald is saying people don’t know how to behave so to set the tone these Guides will police people through elliptical social politics to make sure you don’t fall out of line. Additionally, if you don’t adhere to the Guides, then the many report tools to ban trolls will kick-in and boot the wrong-thinker out.
As mentioned above, Facebook Horizon is a new social VR world that is set to hit the Oculus family of devices sometime in 2020.