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Horizon Worlds, Facebook’s “metaverse” is now available in France

Facebook’s social and virtual platform has officially rolled out in France and Spain. It currently has 300,000 monthly active users.

The CEO of Facebook (Meta), Mark Zuckerberg, announced on Tuesday August 16 the arrival of his “metaverse” Horizon Worlds in France and Spain.

It is by means of a photo representing his avatar, in front of virtual versions of the Eiffel Tower and what seems to represent the Sagrada Familia that the boss of the company announced it.

“We are launching Horizon Worlds in France and Spain today! We have to see people explore and build immersive spaces, and to be able to deploy it quickly in other countries”, specified the entrepreneur on Facebook.

This “social” platform is only accessible to owners of an Oculus Quest headset. It is more or less a “sandbox” platform, where everyone can meet, discuss, listen to a concert or participate in virtual activities. We discuss orally through a headset.

Users can also, since April, open “shops” there to sell virtual items, such as clothes for their avatar. Meta also takes a high commission on these objects, a little less than 50%.

Moderation pointed out

Horizon Worlds has been available since 2021 in the US, where as of February Meta claimed around 300,000 monthly active users. Its opening in France and Spain was planned, and other countries should soon follow.

Normally reserved for adults, the platform has constantly raised fears since its deployment in the United States. These concerns, mainly related to the lack of moderation, proved to be justified when several people, in particular users, indicated that they had been harassed or sexually assaulted there.

Several testimonies also indicate the presence of minors, who may then be exposed to potential predators. To address these concerns, Meta has implemented a social distancing system that can be activated at the user’s discretion.

Privacy advocates have also pointed to a risk of increased collection of personal data by the company, which is already widely monitored in this regard. A Facebook executive himself described the metaverse as a “toxic” place, especially for women and minorities, if moderation was not up to par.