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Meta launches four-foot buffer zone to cut back VR harassment

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Meta, formerly known as Facebook, introduces a new feature for its Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues virtual reality platforms that it thinks will reduce harassment, abuse, and other weird behavior among its users. Personal Boundary is a new feature that stops avatars in virtual worlds from being too close to one another, “providing more personal space for people and making it easier to avoid unwanted interactions.”

The system’s operation appears to be pretty straightforward: when someone approaches too close, their forward movement gets blocked. At launch, the distance between avatars will be slightly under four feet. There will be no visible barrier or haptic indication when someone gets stopped, so users will be unaware that someone is attempting to sneak upon them.

According to The Verge, avatars can go past one another when Personal Boundary is enabled. Thus the technology can’t get used to blocking or trapping users.

“We’re purposely turning Personal Boundary on by default because we believe it will help define behavioral norms—which is critical for a new medium like VR,” Meta explained. “In the future, we’ll look into introducing further controls and UI tweaks, such as allowing users to modify the size of their Personal Boundary.”

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The simple fact is that this thing is essential for the same reason that board administrators are required. Certain people are incapable of acting appropriately on the internet. Strange behavior, including outright violence, is unfortunately in augmented environments.

During an 11-hour VRChat session in December 2021, one user documented over 100 “severe events,” some of which involved users pretending to be under the age of 13, according to the New York Times.

Bloomberg tech reporter Parmy Olson recently told the BBC that she’d had her own “weird” encounters in Horizon Worlds, including males taking virtual photos of her and leaning in close to speak to her, which “sounds like someone is physically talking into your ear.”

A beta tester stated in the official Horizon group on Facebook on December 9, the day Horizon Worlds went online, that she’d to get virtually grabbed by another user during a session.

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Meta, Snapchat users are moving towards TikTok – Here’s why?

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As more people, particularly millennials and Generation Z, use social media to view videos, both Meta (formerly previously Facebook) and Snapchat have stated that the future of social media looks more like Chinese short-video creating tool TikTok.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel stated during an earnings call that people are spending less time on Snapchat watching friends’ Stories.

Instead, Snapchat users are increasingly turning to Spotlight, a TikTok feature and Snapchat competitor, to view videos.

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“This is consistent with the trajectory we’ve seen during the pandemic, and daily active user-friend story publishing and viewing haven’t restored to pre-pandemic levels,” Spiegel told investors late Thursday.

“While we hope that our community will return to the friend’s story behaviors we saw before the epidemic in the future,” he continued, “we are focused on innovating on our content offerings in best serving our community now.” TikTok is rapidly expanding, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“People have a lot of options for how they want to spend their time,” he said at Meta’s earnings conference this week. “Apps like TikTok are developing extremely rapidly.”

The amount of money spent on TikTok by people all around has only increased. Last year, users paid $2.3 billion on the mobile app, including the iOS version of Douyin’s Chinese localization.

According to Sensor Tower, this sum represents a 77% year increase from $1.3 billion in 2020.

In Q4 2021, consumer expenditure on ByteDance’s short video platform totaled $824.4 million, more than double the $382.4 million produced in the same quarter in 2020.

Although China is still TikTok’s largest market in terms of consumer expenditure, its proportion has shrunk dramatically.

In Q4 2021, Chinese consumers accounted for 57% of in-app spending, whereas in Q4 2020, China’s App Store accounted for 85% of in-app expenditure.

The United States remained TikTok’s second-largest income source, with its percentage of expenditure increasing year over year.

During border tensions with China, the Indian government banned the popular short-form video app TikTok, as well as numerous other Chinese applications, in June 2020.

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Instagram Rolls Out ‘Take a Break’ Feature

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On Friday, Instagram announced that its ‘Take a Break’ feature has begun to roll out to all countries, including India. The feature allows users to set reminders to stop scrolling after a certain amount of time has passed, and it is available to all service users as an option.

Take a Break will join Instagram’s existing Daily Restriction feature. It lets users set a daily restriction on how much time they spend on the platform. The Meta-owned company has teamed up with youth portal We The Young to launch a campaign called Break Zaroori Hai to create awareness about the feature. Take a Break on Instagram will be an optional tool for all users.

Instagram’s head of product, Adam Mosseri, revealed in November that the Take a Break function is meant to remind users to exit the app after a set length of time. Users can choose between 10-, 20-, or 30-minute intervals to get warned to leave the app, according to Mosseri.

After months of testing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, the functionality finally rolls out to all countries.

Also Read Meta launches four-foot buffer zone to cut back VR harassment

While the Take a Break feature will be voluntary, with users having to opt-in to receive reminders, Instagram claims that it will appear for users who have been scrolling for a particular length of time. According to the firm, users will get prompted to set up reminders to take more breaks in the future, as well as “expert-backed advice to help them reflect and refresh.” Younger users will receive notifications recommending that they enable the Take a Break feature.

Last year, when whistleblower Frances Haugen disclosed that Instagram’s parent company, Meta (previously known as Facebook), had determined in its research that the app could be harmful to young users’ mental health, the corporation came under fire.

Shortly after the discoveries, Instagram started testing the Take a Break feature to assist younger users who wished to spend less time on the service. According to Instagram, the new Take a Break function is now available on iOS and Android in the following weeks.

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Snap Posts Quarterly Profit for the First Time

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Much of Snap’s growth, according to Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg, may have come from India, where TikTok is prohibited.

Investors are lining up to buy Snap stock after the company’s owner, the vanishing messaging network Snapchat, stunned Wall Street by reporting a quarterly profit for the first time. The stock surge came after Meta, the parent company of Facebook, experienced its best one-day stock price loss in history on Thursday, demonstrating that, while internet and social media businesses are generally bundled together by Wall Street, their fortunes sometimes diverge.

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In after-hours trading, Snap shares were up $14.30 (approximately Rs. 1,000), or 58 percent, to $38.89 (about Rs. 2,900). Following Meta’s plummet, the notoriously volatile stock dropped over 24% in regular trade.

Snap reported earnings for the fourth quarter Thursday, beating analyst estimates on earnings, revenue, and user growth. The report marks Snap’s first profitable quarter on a net income basis as a public company. It released a day after Facebook parent Meta delivered disappointing guidance for the first quarter

“With strong daily active user growth in all regions, including North America,” noted Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg, “Snapchat is not as prone to the ‘TikTok effect’ as Meta.” She alluded to Facebook’s slowing user growth, which she attributed in part to competition from TikTok, a popular video-sharing app.

Nonetheless, the majority of Snap’s growth, according to Enberg, comes from India, where TikTok is illegal.

Snap, based in Santa Monica, California, reported a profit of $22.6 million (approximately Rs. 170 crores), or 1 cent (about 75 paise) per share, compared to a loss of $69 million (nearly Rs. 500 crores), or 8 cents (roughly Rs. 6) per share a year ago. According to FactSet, analysts expected it to lose 9 cents (approximately Rs. 7) per share in the most recent quarter.

Revenue increased by 42% to $1.3 billion (roughly Rs. 9,716 crore). Snap’s average daily user count also increased in the fourth quarter, rising 20% year over year to 319 million.

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