21-Year-Old Woman Virtually Raped and Harassed in Metaverse: Report

Metaverse was launched with much fanfare and optimism by Mark Zuckerberg to connect people online which encompasses augmented and virtual reality.

However, as is the case with social media platforms where bullying and cybercrime are rampant, Metaverse also has its own share of vices.

According to an online watchdog, within an hour of entering the Metaverse, a 21-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and virtually harassed.

A report – titled “Metaverse: Another Cesspool of Toxic Content” – said the woman was raped less than an hour after being in the Metaverse, according to a new report from SumOfUs, an “advocacy organization in nonprofit and an online community campaigning to hold corporations accountable” for a variety of alleged breaches, reports Daily Mail.

The anonymous woman, who works as a researcher for SumOfUs‚ claimed that her avatar was violated as other users stared at her after leading her to a private room during a party on “Horizon Worlds”, a platform metaverse form released by Meta last December in the United States and Canada that allows users to meet with others, play games, and create their own virtual worlds.

Even though everything is happening virtually, the woman can feel the unwanted touch and fumble through the VR controllers.

In the Metaverse, when one user is touched by another, the controllers vibrate, “creating a very disorienting and even disturbing physical experience during a virtual assault.”

“It happened so fast that I kind of disassociated myself. Part of my brain was like ‘WTF is happening’, the other part was like ‘this is not a real body’, and another part was like ‘this is important research,'” the anonymous researcher said in the report.

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The watchdog also pointed out that “virtual reality users have long reported issues of sexual harassment, verbal abuse, racial slurs, and invasion of personal space on a myriad of apps.”

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In response to the incident, a Meta representative told the Daily Mail: “We don’t recommend disabling the security feature with people you don’t know.”

The SumOfUs report also listed other instances of sexual harassment that have occurred in the metaverse.

(With agency contributions)


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