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Facebook owner Meta adds tool to guard against harassment in metaverse – Reuters

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An attendee demos the Oculus Quest wireless virtual reality headset during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
Feb 4 (Reuters) – Facebook's parent Meta Platforms said on Friday it is launching a tool for people using its virtual reality social platforms to maintain personal space boundaries, as concerns have mounted about user safety and sexual harassment in the metaverse.
Its new "personal boundary" tool will make users feel like they have nearly four feet (1.2 meters) between their virtual avatar and others when they access the immersive Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues apps through VR headsets.
The company said in a blog post that this new default setting would make it easier to avoid unwanted interactions. The change comes as users of VR platforms including Horizon Worlds have raised alarms about virtual groping and other abusive behavior.
Facebook Inc changed its name to Meta, and has invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality to reflect its new bet on the metaverse, a futuristic idea of a network of virtual environments accessed via different devices where users can work, socialize and play. read more
Horizon Worlds, an expansive VR social platform, and Horizon Venues, which is focused on virtual events, are early iterations of metaverse-like spaces.
Shares of Meta, which is pouring billions of dollars into its metaverse ambitions, plummeted 26% on Thursday in the biggest single-day slide in market value for a U.S. company, after the social media giant issued a dismal forecast, blaming Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) privacy changes and increased competition. read more
The company has long been under scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators over its handling of problematic content and abuses on its existing social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Meta said the new tool built on its current "hand harassment measures," where an avatar's hands would disappear if they invaded someone's personal space. It also currently has a "Safe Zone" feature where people can activate a bubble around their avatar if they feel threatened.
Meta's vice president of Horizon Vivek Sharma said in the blog that the company believed the new personal boundaries would help set "behavioral norms."
"It's an important step, and there's still much more work to be done. We'll continue to test and explore new ways to help people feel comfortable in VR," said Sharma.
He said in the future, Meta would look at the possibility of adding in controls like letting people change the size of their personal boundary.
For now, the company noted users will have to "extend their arms to be able to high-five or fist bump other people's avatars."
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Thomson Reuters
Technology correspondent in New York, reporting on social media companies and their impact. Previously based in San Francisco and London, she worked on digital, graphics and investigative teams and covered the U.S. 2020 presidential election. She was part of a Reuters reporting team that won Gerald Loeb, Scripps Howard and SABEW Best in Business awards.
Brazilian payment processor Cielo SA said on Tuesday its second-quarter net profit more than tripled, beating analysts' forecasts, helped by proceeds from the sale of a subsidiary.
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Meta's losses show the metaverse's costly risk – Insider Intelligence

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Facebook parent Meta launches startup accelerator with India’s IT ministry in metaverse push – TechCrunch

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Meta Platforms is looking at India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem as it bolsters its bet on the metaverse. The social juggernaut has partnered with the Indian IT Ministry’s startup hub to launch an accelerator in the country to broaden innovation in emerging technologies, including augmented reality and virtual reality, officials said Tuesday.
MeitY Startup Hub and Meta’s effort, called XR Startup Program, will work with 40 early-stage startups and help them in research and development and developing workable products and services. Each startup will also receive a grant of over $25,000, the American giant said.
The program, supported by Meta’s $50 million XR Programs and Research Fund, will initially hand pick 80 startups to attend a bootcamp. It will also help startups with finding customers, inking relationships and raising funds, Meta said.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said the program is especially aimed at helping encourage technology innovation in smaller cities and towns.
The XR Startup Program is the latest of Meta’s growing participation in the South Asian market’s upskilling efforts. The firm, whose Facebook and WhatsApp services identify India as their largest market by users, partnered with Central Board of Secondary Education, a government body that oversees education in private and public schools in the country, to launch a certified curriculum on digital safety and online well-being, and augmented reality for students and educators in the country.
The program — to be implemented by four Indian institutions, including IIT Delhi — will also host a “grand challenge” for innovation in categories including education, healthcare, entertainment, agritech, climate action, sustainability and tourism, the American giant said.
“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” said Joel Kaplan, VP of Global Policy at Meta, in a statement.
Meta’s interest with working with startups in India is also not newly found. The company has backed three startups in the country, including social commerce platform Meesho and online education group Unacademy.
3 views: Is the metaverse for work or play?

“India’s rapid tech adoption combined with a vast pool of tech talent puts the country in a vantage position for shaping the future of the internet,” said Ajit Mohan, VP and MD of Facebook India, in a statement.
“For this future to be equitable, it will require active participation from all stakeholders, including developers, businesses, creators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. We are excited to collaborate with MeitY Startup Hub and hope that the XR Startup Program will act as a catalyst to unlock the use of immersive technology across sectors like education, healthcare, agritech and tourism, not only in India but across the globe.”

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WHAT IS QUILVIUS (QVUI)? LET'S EXPLORE THIS UPCOMING METAVERSE CRYPTO PROJECT – Asianet Newsable

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WHAT IS QUILVIUS (QVUI)? LET’S EXPLORE THIS UPCOMING METAVERSE CRYPTO PROJECT  Asianet Newsable
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