Meta’s metaverse, a toxic environment?

A report reveals the many problems present in the virtual reality platforms of the giant.

Sexual harassment isn’t the only danger in the metaverse. According to a report from the non-profit organization SumOfUs, there have been many wrongdoing within the company’s virtual reality platforms, namely Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues. For starters, the researchers were amazed at how quickly they experienced sexual harassment. One she claims was taken to a private room at a party where she was raped by another user about an hour after joining Horizon Worlds. A second person in the room watched and passed a bottle of vodka while others outside could see what was happening through the window.

The researcher also said she suffered this sexual assault after being encouraged to deactivate her personal boundaries, a feature that Meta implemented in February to precisely combat sexual harassment.

Many problems in different applications

SumOfUS mentions other issues in its report, such as sexual, homophobic and racist comments or inadequate processes to report violations. The researchers say they were greeted with homophobic slurs, gun violence and drugs just minutes after logging into Horizon Worlds. According to the organization, these problems are also present in applications belonging to Meta or accessible through its virtual reality viewer. One person, for example, coped “Obscene and sexist remarks” while playing Echo VR, with a player claiming to have recorded his voice to do so “jerk off”. Wanting to denounce the latter, he indicates that he had difficulty in doing so.

SumOfUs also explains that children are present on Meta’s virtual reality platforms while only users over the age of 18 should be able to access them. They manage to use them using an account of an older family member or by creating a fake Facebook account and it would only take a few minutes.

The organization believes these toxic behaviors can thrive on these apps due to the lack of moderation: “Given Meta’s inability to moderate content on its other platforms, it’s not surprising that it is already seriously behind in content moderation on its metaverse platforms. With only 300,000 users, it’s amazing how quickly Horizon Worlds has become a breeding ground for malicious content. “. He sees an urgent need for regulators to take action to prevent the metaverse from transforming into an even more dark and toxic environment.

Leave a Comment