24 Hours in Facebook’s Metaverse Is Exciting

Meta also requires Horizon users to consent to their audio being recorded. (If they refuse, they can’t talk in Horizon.) Audio is stored on the user’s headset, according to the company, and is only sent to Meta if someone else submit a report, about harassment, for example. Users can be banned for several hours or even for a month, based on those recorded conversations.

Instead of going into safe mode or reporting on people around me, I laughed at their behavior and told them I was a reporter, recording them (and not just their sound). . This had a civilizing effect.

Sobering up from my meeting in the Plaza, I went to the Soapstone Comedy Club, where a woman was stumbling around and babbling. A guy in a suit and red MAGA cap was on stage asking if anyone wanted to hear jokes about race or ethnicity. The crowd groaned and his avatar went into sleep mode, likely kicked off by the club moderator for breaking house rules for offensive jokes.

The Soapstone Comedy Club was founded by Aaron Sorrels, who specializes in managing Unemployed Alcoholics. After quitting his marketing job to deal with his alcoholism, Mr. Sorrels became a comedian. When the pandemic hit, and he couldn’t get up anymore in his home state of Michigan, he lived in limbo until he heard that Zuckerberg had spent billions of dollars on the metaverse.

“This is going to be something, and now is the time to get involvedMr. Sorrels recalled as he pondered. He bought three Quest headphones with a plan to attract comedians, but he found more success building a world for amateurs to take to the stage.

His club currently has up to 13,000 weekly visitors. He accepts donations from supporters who have access to a private lounge and he is part of a small group of creators allowed by Meta make money from their world. Mr. Zuckerberg recently checked out the Soapstone name during an appearance on Joe Rogan’s audio filesincluding millions more listeners than Horizon’s most recently confirmed number of hundreds of thousands of users. Mr Sorrels said running “a comedy club in a pretend land” is now his full-time job.

I started chatting with a man sitting next to me in the club named Malefic, who had a goatee and earrings, although in his real world, Joe Cronin, didn’t. Six hours earlier, Cronin, 30, a married programmer in Pennsylvania with two young children, had been playing online video games with friends. When they go to bed, he goes to Horizon, headphones plugged into the wall, to decompress and socialize after an adrenaline-filled session. Horizon is where players relax, like skiers at a ski bar.


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