Sexual harassment has already become a problem in the metaverse.  Studies show that it can hurt – Fast Company Brasil

Sexual harassment has already become a problem in the metaverse. Studies show that it can hurt – Fast Company Brasil

Chris Morris

3 minutes of reading

It’s been just over seven months since Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook company will change its name to Meta. But to many people, the whole concept of the metaverse still sounds a little strange and scary.

As companies unleash this new virtual effort and virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products enter the race to grow their customer base, the metaverse already seems to adopt some of the worst behaviors in the world. the real world.

A report by the corporate responsibility group SumOfUs shows that Meta’s virtual reality platforms – Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues – are full of many of the same issues that exist with more traditional communication platforms. Among them, misogynistic, homophobic and racist comments; a signaling system that is not tailored to the real needs of users; lack of fighting of criminals; and without parental assessments, which could result in children being exposed to inappropriate content or threatening their integrity.

In addition, it reveals a specific metaverse problem that is perhaps even more serious: virtual sexual violence.

“With only 300,000 users, it’s disturbing how quickly Horizon Worlds has become a breeding ground for harmful content,” the report says. “Without urgent action, this will only get worse. Until regulators hold Meta responsible for the damage done to the two platforms, they will find measures to limit their control over the technology industries, and restrict their data collection practices. , the metaverse is likely to transform into a darker, more toxic environment.

Meta did not respond or comment on the review.


The company, of course, is just a growing player

As long as regulators hold Meta responsible for the damage done to their platforms, the metaverse could become a dark and toxic environment.

metaverse segment. Epic Games, Roblox and many others are developing their own virtual worlds, which (for now) are considerably larger. But Meta has money, and a lot of it. In 2021, it announced plans to invest $ 10 billion in Facebook Reality Labs. It is also the largest manufacturer of VR glasses, which come with their own pre-installed software.

As with Facebook, the company plans to make the collection of user data its main source of revenue in the metaverse. But the SumOfUs report indicates that the amount of data it will receive is far greater than what people understand.

“In a virtual world, where users wear virtual reality glasses capable of tracking body information such as eye movements, facial expressions and temperature, we can expect an even more dystopian version of surveillance capitalism, ”the report says.


According to SumOfUs, the minimum moderation of Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues allows

One investigator who was practically disturbed described the experience as “disorienting and even disturbing.”

toxic behavior occurs. A beta tester who reported harassment, after being virtually tempted, has been held responsible by Meta for “abuse of personal security features.” Another user reported that his avatar was gang-raped for 60 seconds by a group of three to four male avatars.

As the interaction in the metaverse is done for cartoon avatars, there is a minimization of the allegations of virtual aggression. However, when someone touches their avatar in Horizon Worlds, the control of the VR glasses in the user’s hand vibrates, an experience that a SumOfUs researcher who was practically annoying describes as “very disorienting and even disturbing.” . Unfortunately, these incidents are not limited to Meta platforms.

SumOfUs was not the first to highlight this type of unwanted interaction. In February, Meta launched the feature Personal limitdesigned to prevent others from violating your avatar’s personal space by creating a perimeter of about 1.2 meters.

“Oh Personal limit it ensures more personal space for people and makes it easier to avoid unwanted interactions. ”“ We will continue to make improvements as we learn more about how people’s experiences impact virtual reality. ”

About the author

Chris Morris is a journalist with over 30 years of experience. Learn more at know more

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