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Horizon Worlds voice mode can turn strangers’ speech into pleasant gibberish


Meta is adding a new “voice mode” to Horizon Worlds that disrupts any voice chat from non-friends on the VR social platform, the company has announced. By default, you’ll still hear all nearby users at the same volume, but enabling the “garbled voices” toggle will replace them with “unintelligible, friendly sounds.” The feature will roll out in the coming weeks, according to Meta.

According to a screenshot of the toggle shared by Meta, the feature can be used to make users “feel more comfortable or secure.” This follows a series of reports of harassment users have experienced on the social virtual reality platform, which came out of beta late last year. In February, Meta introduced a “personal limit” system in February which is enabled by default and prevents other users from accessing your personal space.

The toggle for the new voice mode feature.
Image: Meta

When you use voice mode to distort the speech of those around you, an icon will appear above your display name to indicate that you cannot hear what strangers are saying. But if you want to turn them off temporarily, you can do so by raising your in-game hand to your ear using a motion controller.

Interestingly, Meta’s screenshot of the Voice Mode feature shows it alongside a separate toggle that lets you disable unfriends entirely. Presumably, allowing you to still hear their voices in garbled form is seen as a compromise so that you can still hear the general social hubbub of a room without being subjected to potentially abusive comments from strangers.

Meta announced the new security feature alongside the launch of the service in the UK. The country is the third to see the release of Horizon Worlds alongside the United States and Canada. The VR social platform is a central part of the company’s narrative for its future metaverse, and includes the ability for creators to create their own levels for other players to experience.


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