Facebook opens the virtual world app to the public, heading to the metaverse, IT News, ET CIO

Facebook’s parent company on Thursday opened its Horizon Worlds virtual reality platform to the public in North America, in a step toward building its metaverse vision for the future.

Horizon Worlds is far from a fully realized metaverse, a future internet where online experiences like chatting with a friend would end up feeling face to face thanks to virtual reality (VR) headsets.

But headset users in the US and Canada can now get together with friends or other people, play games, and create their own virtual worlds on Horizon as long as they are 18 and have the appropriate equipment.

Since last year, a test version of the platform has been available for a limited number of users.

Facebook renamed its parent company to Meta in October to underscore its goal of moving from a scandal-prone social media platform to its vision of virtual reality for its future.

“We want Horizon Worlds to be a safe and respectful environment, so everyone should follow our VR driving policy,” said Meta, announcing the opening.

“You have several security options… which allow you to pause and then block, mute or flag people,” he added.

Meta-owned platforms Facebook and Instagram are fighting to put behind a crisis sparked in September by tons of internal studies leaked to journalists and US authorities by whistleblower Frances Haugen.

The documents supported damaging articles that generally argued the company knew its products could harm users, but chose growth over security.

The company’s metaverse push also includes tools for remote working, which has exploded during the pandemic.

Facebook unveiled a technology for “work rooms” in August, enabling remote collaboration for people using its Oculus virtual reality equipment.

The “Horizon Workrooms” project makes it possible to switch from virtual reality to web conferencing to adapt to different situations.

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