Horrifying accounts of sexually assaulted and harassed women in the Metaverse are on the rise, according to online watchdogs.
A 21-year-old woman says she was raped less than an hour after being in the metaverse, according to a new report from SumOfUs, a “nonprofit advocacy organization and online community that campaigns to keep responsible companies ”for various alleged violations. .
The report – titled “Metaverse: Another Cesspool of Toxic Content” – deeply absorbed allegations that a woman was “almost gang -raped”, hate speech and issues of moderation within Meta, the bag controversial image of Facebook Inc.
The young woman, who works as a researcher in the group ‚was taken to a private room during a party at“ Horizon Worlds ”, a metaverse platform launched by Meta in December in the United States and Canada that allows users to meet others, play games and create their own virtual world.
He admitted that his avatar was raped by one user while another was watching and passed a virtual bottle of vodka-and others were seen looking out the window.
In a cool video clip posted by SumOfUs, an avatar was recorded saying, “Look at this. It’s a free show. Oh, I got it. Put that down gritty, you heard. Meanwhile, the watching avatar responds, “You need more than that, kid,” while handing over the virtual bottle of drink. “Hey a free show!” The avatar is then heard screaming.
If one user hits another in the metaverse, the controllers will vibrate, “creating an even more confusing and even disturbing physical experience during a virtual attack.”
“It happened so fast that I kind of disassociated myself. Part of my brain looks like ‘WTF is happening’, another part looks like ‘this is not a real body’, and another part looks like ‘this is important research’, ”said the researcher who was not identified in the report.
The watchdog also noted that “virtual reality users have long reported issues of sexual harassment, verbal abuse, racial profiling, and invasion of personal space in many apps.”
The “minimal moderation” of these VR worlds allows about behavior to “develop”. . . especially to female look and female voice avatars.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is leading a major campaign to move his company to the Metaverse, an all digital virtual reality environment accessible via headsets or similar technology.
When faced with the horrific attack that took place in the metaverse, a Meta spokesperson noticed that the researcher was holding back the Personal Boundary section.
The feature launched in February as a security tool that is enabled by default and prevents non-friends from reaching within 4 feet of your avatar.
Meta representatives did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment, but a company spokesperson told the Daily Mail: “We don’t recommend disabling the security feature of people you don’t know. .
They also noticed several other safety tools intended to help people stay safe in VR environments, including the Safe Zone button, which allows users to block people who are bothering you and report them or some inappropriate content.
“We want everyone who uses our products to have a good experience and to easily find tools that can help in situations like this, so that we can investigate and take action,” the Meta spokesperson added.
The SumOfUs report also lists other instances of sexual harassment that have occurred in the metaverse.
An anonymous beta tester for “Horizon Worlds” has filed a complaint with the app claiming that his “avatar was searched by a stranger.”
In 2021, Kabuni Metaverse Research Co-Founder and Vice President Nina Jane Patel shared her experience of being “verbally and sexually harassed” within 60 seconds of logging into “Horizon Worlds.” He reported that three to four male avatars “almost gang-raped” him and took pictures while shouting rude words.
While logging into the “Population One” app, which is owned by Meta, Chanelle Siggens said she was approached by another gamer, who was “grabbing and cumming on her avatar.” Another “Population One” user, Mari DeGrazia, said she witnessed harassment more than three times a week on the app. DeGrazia also suffered abuse while wearing a VR vest, when “another player touched the chest of his avatar.”
While exploring the metaverse connected to “Lone Echo VR”, another Meta-owned app, Sydney Smith encountered “obscene and sexist words” as another player claimed to have “recorded” her. [voice]for “to fall in love”. After the horrific incident, Smith described having trouble reporting the player to the game.
SumOfUs said harassment and assault are not isolated in Meta-owned apps, but noted that many apps can be accessed through the Meta Oculus Quest headset.
The report notes three important steps that need to be taken to take control of the VR universe.
- First, according to the report, “regulators need to address Mark Zuckerberg’s predatory and anti-competitive practices”.
- Second, it is “alarming that to date the United States does not have sufficient data protection laws to protect consumers from abusive methods of data collection across all platforms, allowing companies like Meta to sell the data to third parties with little control ”.
- Third, while the Digital Services Act (DSA) is enshrined in European law, other governments around the world “should use this landmark legislation as a model to regulate Big Tech companies in their own jurisdiction. “
Another report found that incidents of sexual harassment and assault in the Metaverse are often met with “dismissive, abusive, and misogynistic” responses, according to the MIT Technology Review.
However, on a broader scale, the majority of American adults agree that online harassment is a problem, with 41% saying they have experienced some form of harassment in digital spaces, according to in a Pew Research study.
Jesse Fox, an associate professor at Ohio State University who studies the social implications of virtual reality, told MIT: “People need to remember that sexual harassment doesn’t have to be a physical thing. It can be verbal, and yes, it can also be a virtual experience.