Meta Adds ‘Personal Boundary’ Tool After Virtual Sexual Assault Allegation

The function prevents digital avatars from coming within a 4-foot distance from one another to “avoid unwanted interaction,” according to a company exec


Source: MetaQuest


key takeaways

  • One woman said that “within 60 seconds of joining” Meta’s Horizon Worlds, she was “verbally and sexually harassed”
  • Meta stock is up 0.65% to $239.31 per share

Following reports of sexual assaults in Meta’s metaverse, the company Friday rolled out what it is calling a “personal boundary” tool.

The function prevents avatars from coming within a 4-foot distance from one another in the company’s Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues to “create more personal space” for users and to “make it easier to avoid unwanted interaction,” Horizon Worlds Vice President Vivek Sharma said.

“We are intentionally rolling out Personal Boundary as always on, by default, because we think this will help to set behavioral norms—and that’s important for a relatively new medium like VR,” Sharma said.

The rollout comes following reports of misconduct in the social media giant’s metaverse from a beta tester of Horizon Worlds last year.

Nina Jane Patel, vice president of Metaverse Research at Kabuni Ventures, said that as she tested the game, she was sexually abused by four male avatars, according to a December Medium post.

“Within 60 seconds of joining” Horizon Worlds, Patel said she was “verbally and sexually harassed” by avatars “with male voices [that], essentially, but virtually gang raped” her avatar.

“[It was] a horrible experience that happened so fast and before I could even think about putting the safety barrier in place,” she wrote, referring to the company’s “Safe Zone” feature, which allows users to block other users.

“Virtual reality has essentially been designed so the mind and body can’t differentiate virtual/digital experiences from real [ones],” Patel said. “In some capacity, my physiological and psychological response was as though it happened in reality.”

[stock_market_widget type=”inline” template=”generic” assets=”META” markup=”{name} ({symbol}) is trading at {price} ({change_pct}).” display_currency_symbol=”true” api=”yf”]

The company’s stock plunged more than 20% after hours following its fourth quarter earnings report Wednesday.

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

Explore the growing intersection between crypto, macroeconomics, policy and finance with Ben Strack, Casey Wagner and Felix Jauvin. Subscribe to the On the Margin newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2024

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research Report Templates.png


ZKPs enable efficient offchain transaction processing and validation, resulting in increased throughput and reduced fees. Solana's ZK Compression leverages ZKPs to minimize onchain storage costs, while Sui's zkLogin streamlines user onboarding by replacing complex key management with familiar OAuth credentials.


The crypto asset manager lowered its planned fee from 0.25% to 0.15%, undercutting its competitors


Plus, a look at planned ETH ETF fees and how they differ from their BTC counterparts


North Korea suspected in breach of Indian exchange’s multisig wallet


Plus, Sanctum’s CLOUD token has officially launched — but not without problems


It’s not yet clear whether Donald Trump is pumping bitcoin. But an unofficial memecoin is still seeing benefit.