Facebook is rolling out new anti-harassment tools for its virtual reality platform as it continues to push for more users to plug in.
Facebook-owned Oculus has published a blog post announcing new ways to report abuse within the virtual reality platform. Now, Oculus Go and Gear VR users can report harassment from within apps and games. They can either submit a text-based report, or capture video of an offending user or interaction. Selecting the latter option will send the user back to the app, where a red light will indicate that a recording is in progress. It’ll automatically capture video for two-and-a-half minutes, or the user can hit the back button on their controller to end the recording before then. These reporting features will come to the Oculus Rift next month.
The update is detailed in an Oculus Support page, which states that it allows users to “provide context” to their report, which will be reviewed by the company’s community operations team.
Oculus’ code of conduct prohibits “sexually explicit, abusive or obscene content” as well as “hateful or racially offensive” language or content, among a number of other harassing and threatening behaviours. The ability to report these behaviours system-wide and from within apps is a welcomed improvement to anti-harassment efforts, and affording users the option to record these violations should help provide moderators with indisputable evidence.
It is pretty wild, though, that Oculus is just now rolling out these anti-harassment tools. For a company hellbent on luring one billion people into this new frontier, the VR platform should’ve included such options by now. Facebook has yet to prove that it can even fully grapple with harassment in a two-dimensional space; when opening up the world to a much more visceral one, protecting users should be a top priority.