The Facebook metaverse is already one of the most toxic places on the internet

A study reveals that Facebook (Meta) was extremely unprepared to realize its dream of creating a shared online space for millions of users. After days of trying out the Metaverse and its Horizon Worlds virtual chat room, researchers say it’s already one of the worst places on the web, completely unmoderated.

© SumOfUs

Who would have believed it? The Business Watch Group Sum Of Us released an interesting report last week on the transition of Facebook’s empire to Meta. While Meta’s VR platforms are already enjoying more 300,000 usersthe group also documents how Worlds of the horizona virtual chat room of the metaverse, it already hosts the worst behaviors on the webbetween racism, sexual harassment, homophobia and conspiracy theories.

Less than an hour to be “virtually violated”, the total absence of moderation

Meta has two main VR apps. One is Worlds of the horizonan application of social network which allows users to create and interact in unique digital rooms, called “worlds”. As of February 2022, some 10,000 separate worlds have already been designed, with an estimated user base of over 300,000. The second is Places on the horizona separate application dedicated to hosting live events in the Metaverse.

The explicit promise of the metaverse is to occupy a digital domain as if you were really there to interact with other people (as it already does VR Chat, For instance). Although harassment online it’s not new, everything necessarily becomes more visceral once you place a VR helmet on your head.

Worlds of the horizon
Mondi Horizon © Meta

In their study, the researchers share many examples of toxic behaviors, in addition to the almost total absence of moderation in the game space offered by the application Horizon Worlds. The examples cited are not lacking: they explain that they were ” pulled down across different worlds in Meta’s proprietary product; of the false sale of fake medicines placed on the tables, or again, the users obviously dealing constantly with racist insults or homophobic.

One of the researchers explains that it had to less than an hour to be virtually hacked by a user, while trying the metaverse for the first time. Sum Of Us also included a link to a video of what they consider a ” virtual sexual assault “Another video shows racist behavior, gun violence, etc.

The control group underlines this dozens of sexual assaults so virtual especially towards female avatars. No wonder: a metaverse tester had already been sexually assaulted last year, whileWorlds of the horizon it was only in beta.

Nothing planned to fix the problem

Meta is moving forward with the Metaverse, but without a clear plan on how to reduce harmful content and behaviordisinformation and hate speech the report says. The researchers even cite an internal note from last March shared by the Financial Times from Meta Vice President Andrew Bosworth: “ user moderation on any scale is virtually impossible “He said.

However, in February, Meta introduced a feature that prevents other avatars from venturing too close to another player’s body, similar to how other virtual chat rooms like it. VR Chat. The problem is that the researchers indicate they have been consistently ” harassed ” And prompted to remove personal limit settingsboth from the game itself and from other users.

Read: Facebook (Meta): Zuckerberg lost $ 30 billion in an instant

Mondi Horizon © Meta
Mondi Horizon © Meta

Worse still, when another user try to touch or interact with youthe VR controllers vibrate, ” creating a very disorienting and even disturbing physical experience, especially during a virtual assault “, As the study indicates. A good idea, while Zuckerberg is testing gloves to better feel virtual objects …

Worlds of the horizon yet you understand Parental control with the ability to opt out of other users. But the platform is still a big problem for young people, many of whom are already using it. Unlike social networks, which can use systems to monitor written content or even videos, VR chat rooms rely only on individual users to report misbehavior.

Meta has repeatedly proven that it is unable to properly monitor and respond to malicious content on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – so it’s no surprise that he’s already failing in the Metaverse “Said the researchers of Sum Of Us.

Source: SumOfUs

Leave a Comment