How Facebook frames social interaction on virtual reality platform Facebook Horizon
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In this thesis, I explain my research on Facebook Horizon and I give an answer to the following research question: How does Facebook frame social interaction in virtual reality between users of Facebook Horizon? To answer this question, I have performed a framing analysis of Horizon’s public communication. To do this, I studied the language and images they used to rhetorically frame their users, and I studied the rhetorical affordances of the platform. From my research it became clear that Horizon uses four main themes a lot in the framing of their users. According to Horizon’s public communication, a Horizon user is eager to explore and build worlds, plays games with friends, is creative, and is a citizen of the virtual world. All four of the categories are also heavily interlinked and play off each other in various ways. First, according to Horizon’s framing, a Horizon user can “explore” the endless stream of content supplied by its users, in the form of games, experiences, worlds and art. Second, Horizon users can “play” many different games on the platform, some of which are developed by third parties using code, while others are made by casual Horizon users using built in creator tools. Third, Horizon users can “create” many kinds of things on the platform and share them with friends. Users can build their own spaces, but also their own games or art pieces. Finally, a Horizon user is a “citizen” of the platform who partakes in all Horizon has to offer like the things mentioned in the other three categories. Also, a Horizon citizen is a responsible person who is eager to create a respectful and comfortable culture, and after spending enough time in Horizon, the user could even become a local. This fourth category of citizenship is also somewhat of a synthesis of the other categories, because they all contribute to making a Horizon user into a citizen. Therefore, this thesis concludes that a Horizon user is a responsible citizen of the platform who, through exploring, playing, and creating, makes sure that Horizon has a respectful and comfortable culture.