Harassment in Social VR: Implications for Design

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Title: Harassment in Social VR: Implications for Design

Teams: Facebook

Writers: Lindsay Blackwell, Nicole Ellison, Natasha Elliott-Deflo, Raz Schwartz

Publication date: March 28, 2019

Abstract

We interviewed VR users (n=25) about their experiences with harassment, abuse, and discomfort in social VR. We find that users’ definitions of ‘online harassment’ are subjective and highly personal, making it difficult to govern social spaces at the platform or application level. We also find that embodiment and presence make harassment feel more intense. Finally, we find that shared norms for appropriate behavior in social VR are still emergent, and that users distinguish between newcomers who unknowingly violate expectations for appropriateness and those users who aim to cause intentional harm.

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