The non-profit human rights organization SumOfUs, shared an investigative report on the violence found in the virtual spaces of the metaverse, including gang rape, sexual, homophobic and racist comments.among other inappropriate behaviors against users.
The report, entitled “Metaverse: another cesspool of toxic content” highlights the inability of Meta, Facebook’s parent company, to moderate content on its various platforms after entering with its left foot in moderation. of his metaverse. and highlights that with only 300,000 users, the Horizon Worlds metaverse is already the scene of harmful and dangerous content..
“Without urgent action, this will be worse. Until regulators force Meta to take responsibility for the dangers encountered on its platforms, it will diminish its influence in the technology industry and its realm of data collection practices without scruple, the metaverse will spiral into a dark, toxic environment“, reads the report.
SumOfUs notes that without the slightest bit of moderation, the metaverse allows toxic behaviors emerge, in a normalization of sexual harassment directed at female avatars. In her investigation, an investigator went into the Horizon Worlds metaverse and was surprised at how quickly she encountered sexual harassment behavior.
About an hour after entering the metaverse, the researcher was taken to a private room at a party, where it has been “downloaded” by another user “which kept telling him to come back, to do it from behind, while the other outside users could see through the windowAnother user in the room watched, passing by with a bottle of vodka in his hand. The organization said the sexual act was not consensual, prompting investigators to describe the experience as “disorienting” and confusing.
There is a definition of system that creates personal barriers to other users. The investigator was encouraged to disable this settingnoting that when another user touched their avatar, a vibration was transmitted to the hand controls, “creating a very disorienting and upsetting physical experience during this virtual sexual harassmentThe investigator says it all happened so fast that it was a little “shuffled.” “One part of my brain was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. true body, and another party indicated that this was an important investigation, “he said in the report.
The document lists the testimony of other victims of abuse on various metaverse platforms, some belonging to Meta, others available in the app in the Oculus Quest store.. One of the reports complained that she had been pulled over by a stranger, suggesting better mechanisms for prevention and for reporting the nuisance. The victim claims that Meta not only failed to take action against the aggressor but also blamed the users for the improper use of security features.
Also on Horizon Worlds, user Nina Jane Patel said that it was practically violated by a group of 3 or 4 male avatars about 60 seconds after entering the metaverse.. Other users have reported other complaints of inappropriate sexual behavior, especially felt when using tactile sensation equipment.
O hate speech, including discrimination, homophobia, racism, and sexual harassment are indicated as frequent behaviors on metaverse platforms., which affect people of color, members of the LGBTQ + community, women and children, “making these spaces dangerous and inaccessible.” Researchers have also noted the the propensity of the metaverse to carry extremist content. “Instead of learning from his past mistakes, Meta moves on with the metaverse without a clear plan of how to deal with dangerous content and harmful behavior, misinformation and hate speech.
Nick Clegg, president of global affairs for Meta platforms, said in his blog that u the rules and features of the metaverse are not the same as those currently used on social media and should not be. “In the real world, as in the Internet, people shout and curse, and they do all the bad things that are not forbidden by law, and then they mistreat and attack people the way they are. And in the metaverse they don’t. it will be no different.People who want to continue to use technology to do so always find ways to do so.
This sometimes inappropriate behavior was also touched on in a panel dedicated to the metaverse of the Teleperformance PXP event, in which it was mentioned that the same common sense behaviors as in real life must be adopted in the virtual world.