The woman is the latest victim of sexual abuse on Meta’s platforms.
Raped in the Metaverse
More and more cases of virtual sexual assaults have emerged. The latest comes from a female researcher who saw her virtual avatar being raped in an hour of using her Oculus VR headset.
The female researcher was part of SumOfUs which is a non-profit corporate accountability group. The group released a report about Metaverse being another cesspool of toxic content.
The report was published on May 24 and it detailed the sexual assault experience by the analyst while studying the behavior of users of Horizon Worlds.
The report stated that the female researcher was at a virtual party and was led into a private room, where she was assaulted. The “rapist” told her to “turn around so he could do it from behind while users outside the window could see.”
The report included a link to a video, which shows what happened to the victim’s avatar from her perspective. The video shows a male avatar getting close to her while another male avatar was standing and watching nearby. In the video, two male voices were making lewd comments.
The assault happened virtually. But the researcher was disoriented. Her controller vibrated after the male avatars touched her. It was the result of a sensation because of what she was experiencing visually.
The researchers also experienced racial slurs and witnessed gun violence on the platform.
The group stated that it is not surprising Meta could not moderate content on this platform considering how it lagged with content moderation on its other platforms.
The assault wasn’t the first though. The group cited that an anonymous beta tester was groped. The tester filed a complaint. Unfortunately, the virtual aggressor was unpunished while Meta simply blamed the complainant.
The group also noted that in a few minutes of logging into the virtual event, the researchers experienced seeing drugs laid out on a table. The virtual aggressor was also stalking the researcher while following her into various worlds.
A Meta rep stated that users should have a positive experience while engaging with its virtual platform. It has built safety tools so that users will have a better experience while in the virtual space.
Meta promised to continue enhancing its UI and to understand how users utilize its tools so they can report things easily and reliably. Meta wants to make Horizon Worlds safe. And it’s committed to ensuring the safety of its users.
It’s a social VR experience launched by Meta in 2021. The event was available for everyone. Guests can create and explore together.
The vision of the event was to develop a virtual reality space with tools for creators to build worlds. Meta also announced in October last year a $10 million creator fund for creators. Since it was announced, the company launched its Creator Competition with cash prizes.
Meta has invested significantly in immersive metaverse VR. It has pushed $10 billion into designing it. Out of the several major investors of Meta, only two were startled by the details of harassment on the metaverse platforms.