Microsoft shuts down AltspaceVR social hubs to combat harassment – ​​TechCrunch

Microsoft must fight against harassment within the virtual reality application. As of today, the company has taken down the Campfire, News, and Entertainment Commons social spaces. These were hubs where AltspaceVR users could freely congregate and talk to each other. But that same freedom also meant that harassment was an ongoing problem.

By default, AltspaceVR functionality is now enabled for all users. It creates a barrier to prevent other people from entering your avatar’s personal space. Finally, Microsoft says the app will automatically mute new attendees when they first join an event. The company also promised to increase moderation and improve event content rankings to complement these changes.

In the coming weeks, Microsoft said it will require users to use a Microsoft account to access AltspaceVR. Because of this requirement, parents will have the ability to use the company’s family safety feature to limit the time their children can spend in the app.

“As platforms like AltspaceVR evolve, it’s important that we review existing experiences and assess whether they adequately meet customer needs today and in the future,” said Alex Kipman, division head of mixed reality from Microsoft. “This includes helping people connect better with those who share common interests while ensuring that the spaces they access are free from inappropriate behavior and harassment.”

The changes come as other VR platforms grapple with their own harassment issues. In early February, Meta rolled out a feature called to . Like AltspaceVR’s security bubble, it’s there to keep people out of your personal space. More generally, the changes seem to indicate that Microsoft is committed to working on a version of Metaverse despite recent reports suggesting that the company’s mixed reality division has lost a significant number of employees to competitors like Meta.


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