Is Meta softening its view on adult creators? Horizon Worlds allowing ‘sexually suggestive’ (but not explicit) content

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Meta is to officially allow “sexually suggestive” content in its Horizon Worlds metaverse platform, having introduced a new 18+ content rating function for users to flag that their content is for mature audiences.

With Meta’s social media platform Facebook not allowing nudity, and having stringent policies about sexualized content, many people assumed that the company’s metaverse spaces would be similarly sex-free.

Meta has clarified that “sexually explicit” content, including nudity, will not be allowed in Horizon Worlds. However, the new 18+ tagging function suggested that there may be more tolerance for sex-related metaverse shenanegans on the platform than many anticipated.

In July 2022 Meta sent an email to Horizon Worlds users, explaining that they need to clarify whether any worlds they create on the platform are appropriate for users of all ages, or only “mature” users aged 18 or above.

This age rating can be selected via the World tab in Horizon Worlds’ Build mode. If creators do not select an age rating for their world, it will automatically default to being tagged as suitable for people aged over 18.

Meta clarified the kind of sex-related content that should be flagged, saying it would allow “content that is sexually suggestive; for example, near nudity, depictions of people in implied or suggestive positions, or an environment focused on activities that are overly suggestive.”

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It added that even if it was flagged 18+, it would not allow “content that is sexually explicit or provocative, including nudity, depictions of people in explicit positions, or content or worlds that are sexually provocative or implied.”

How Meta defines the transition from “sexually suggestive” to “sexually provocative” avatar behaviour in Horizon Worlds could become a hot topic, as the new function is implemented. The company’s metaverse platforms have already been found to be rife with uninvited sexual advances towards avatars controlled by women, from avatars seemingly controlled by men.

Earlier this year a new avatar distancing feature called Personal Boundary was introduced, following reports of a virtual ‘gang rape’ in Horizon Worlds.

Read next: Nevermet wants to be the Tinder of VR dating in the metaverse // Best VR porn: 19 XXX virtual reality sites with up to 8K streaming and downloads (2022)

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Jamie F

Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice.

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